Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Essay

1629 words - 7 pages

There seems to be an ongoing battle between the evolution of bacteria and modern medicine. This has become a serious problem in hospitals as bacterial resistant infections continue to be on the rise despite the practice of standard precautions that treat all patients as if they have an infectious disease. One of the leading public health threats today is meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. With all of the advancements in medicine, it is hard to believe that we do not have the ability to manufacture new antibiotics that would target these resistive organisms. The problem is not only confined to the United States but affects people globally. According to Bartlett, Gilbert, & Spellberg (2013) this is being considered a global health crisis, and the United States is way behind in antibiotic resistance surveillance especially compared to the European Union (EU) who has taken serious steps to reduce antibiotic resistance. Lets look at some of the reasons why bacteria might become resistant to antibiotics and explore some possible solutions.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria have existed in the environment since before humans used antibiotics for medicine or agriculture (Finley, et al., 2013). Although microbial resistance is a natural occurrence, the rapid development of antibiotic resistant bacteria is largely due to human activities such as the overuse of antibiotics. It is not just the use of prescription antibiotics but also the unnecessary overuse of antibiotics in agriculture. Most antibiotics in the US are not distributed to humans but in fact, 80% of all antibiotics sold in the United States are dispensed to animals, which enter into our digestive tract (Spellberg, Bartlett, & Gilbert, 2013). Antibiotics are administered to livestock in order to promote growth and to prevent infections. The correlation between the use of antibiotics in agriculture and antibiotic resistant bacteria was first noted more than 35 years ago. The impact goes beyond the consumption of these animals but is also spread through excreted waste by animals that were treated with antibiotics that are then transferred through fertilizer, groundwater, and surface runoff, disrupting the microbial ecosystem. Furthermore, antibiotics are used in aquaculture facilities, which are directly distributed into the water generating another route for multi-drug resistant bacteria (Finley, et al., 2013). The European Union has implemented a countrywide ban on antibiotic abuse in farm animals that resulted in a major decline of antibiotic resistance in both humans and animals (Spellberg, Bartlett, & Gilbert, 2013).
There are certain conditions that must be met in order for bacteria to become drug resistant, which include the organism being exposed to an antibiotic and the mutation of the bacteria in order to develop resistance against the agent (Khachatourians, 1998). Among these pathogens are gram-positive methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). There are many...

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