The Health Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance

1011 words - 4 pages

According the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s greatest health threats to date (Haddox, 2013). In the article, The Health Threat of Antibiotic Resistance, Gail Haddox (2013) discusses the danger antibiotic resistance poses in today’s society and strategies to prevent the expansion of antibiotic resistance. In Europe alone, an estimated 25,000 deaths have been attributed to multi-resistant infections (Haddox, 2013). Common infections are now harder to treat due to the increased resistance to antibiotics across the world, in fact some are becoming untreatable. Antibiotics should be treated like oil, a non-renewable resource (Haddox, 2013).
There are four classifications of bacteria antibiotics must fight. Gram positive bacteria, includes staphylococci and streptococci. These bacteria cause infections on the skin and in the throat, lungs, and genital tract (Haddox, 2013). Gram negative bacteria cause of the most recognizable illnesses, including meningitis, gonorrhea, e-coli, salmonella, H. pylori, shingles, and influenza. Anaerobes are bacteria that thrive in oxygen deprived environments, like the mouth, gut and genital tract (Haddox, 2013). Atypical bacteria mycobacteria include bacteria such as tuberculosis and small intercellular organisms, such as chlamydia (Haddox, 2013).
There are many different types of antibiotics and each class of antibiotics work in different ways. The diversification of the actions of these antibiotics, is useful to target the many different types of bacteria. Penicillins and cephalosporins cause cell wall synthesis, weakening the bacteria and preventing cell division (Haddox, 2013). The quinolone antibiotics prevents bacteria from replicating by interfering with DNA synthesis (Haddox, 2013). Macrolide antibiotics cause an interruption in protein synthesis, whereas folate antagonist antibiotics, deprive the bacteria of protein or folic acid to prevent division (Haddox, 2013). Most of the public have heard of broad-spectrum drugs, especially in terms of antibiotic resistance, because they fight a wide range of bacteria but also kills normal flora in the gut (Haddox, 2013). The loss of this gut flora can lead to an abnormal growth of harmful bacteria such as clostridium difficile (C-Diff). The four “C” antibiotics that have a high risk for patient to develop C-diff are clindamycin, cephalosporins, coamoxiclav, and ciprofloxacin (Haddox, 2013). These antibiotics have the highest risk of leading to C-diff development, however all antibiotics increase a patient’s likelihood of a C-diff infection. This effect can last up to 12 weeks post antibiotic administration (Haddox, 2013).
Less than 50 years after penicillin was discovered, strains of bacteria were discovered to be resistant to antibiotics (Haddox, 2013). Over the years scientists have changed the structure of the antibiotics to avoid this resistance, every time the bacteria adapts to overcome the changes. Bacteria...

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