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The Use Of Antibiotics Should Continue.

1460 words - 6 pages

Antibiotics are chemicals that kill or prevent the growth of bacteria. There are two types of antibiotics, broad spectrum and narrow spectrum and they are classed depending on how specific they are and the variety of bacteria they are effective against. Antibiotics have two main uses, fighting infection and agricultural uses. Antibiotics have been used for many years, in the control of illnesses since the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming over 50 years ago1. In addition to their medicinal use, they are also used in farming - both agriculture and livestock farming. For example, by September 1999, 68% of US livestock had received antibiotics at some point2. Antibiotics work by entering the bacteria and interfering with their production of new bacterial cells.Antibiotics are used in farming as they increase food production by killing the bacteria that stunt growth in the animal or plant. This is useful, especially in the less developed countries as farmers will in turn, earn more money by farming. This is obviously a great benefit and the use of antibiotics in this way seems to have no problems and so the use should continue. Food-producing animals are also given antibiotics for therapeutic and disease prevention reasons which also, increases the income from the farming.4Antibiotics are mainly used for medical reasons and are used to treat illnesses caused by bacteria. The common diseases which are treated by antibiotics are infections of the lung, sinuses, middle ear and urinary tract. Antibiotics can also be used to help prevent infection before it takes place. For example, before surgery patients may be given antibiotics to guard against the possibility of getting an infection due to the surgery.5 It has also recently been found that antibiotic treatment can prevent heart problems. Researchers in London say that there is more and more evidence to show that infection may play a part in heart disease by promoting inflammation in the coronary arteries.6 If this evidence is correct then heart disease can be treated by antibiotics as it is caused by bacteria. In the Mayday Hospital in London, researchers gave 325 patients with cardiac problems an antibiotic or a placebo for a week. The antibiotics used were either amoxicillin or azithromycin (an anti-inflammatory). As well as the antibiotics the patients were also put on a drug to eradicate the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium is suspected to be linked to heart disease. At the end of the year 25.8 percent of the patients on antibiotics were re-admitted in comparison to the 38.9 percent that were re-admitted when given a placebo. This proves that antibiotics treats heart disease so that patients are less likely to be re-admitted to hospital with angina or heart attack.6Although antibiotics are very useful they have many problems. The biggest problem is that bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Just four years after drug companies had begun mass producing the antibiotic...

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