Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria adapt or evolve to survive antibiotic treatment. This is a big issue as it can cause antibiotics to become less effective.
Bacteria are single-celled organisms that exist in all environments. Bacteria can exist both inside and outside of other organisms. Some bacteria can cause infections once they enter a person’s body and multiply. There are
If a person has a bacterial infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics, which are medications
In this article, we will discuss what antibiotic resistance is, how it occurs, and strategies to prevent it.
In some situations, infectious bacteria can
The resistant strain of bacteria may then multiply and spread to other people. These individuals may then use antibiotics to treat their infection. However, the strain’s antibiotic resistance will cause the treatment to be less effective or fail. As such, bacterial infections may not resolve and people can experience severe complications.
There are many possible adaptations or mutations that can occur within bacteria to help them resist antibiotics. These
- Restricting the access of the antibiotic: Bacteria may adapt to change the entryways or limit the number of entryways that the antibiotic can use to enter the bacteria. This can include using outer membranes to prevent antibiotic medications from entering.
- Removing the antibiotic: Some bacteria may use pumps in the cell walls to remove antibiotic drugs that enter the cell.
- Changing or destroying the antibiotic: Some bacteria can use enzymes or proteins to break down the antibiotic. This can change or destroy it, making it no longer effective.
- Changing the antibiotic’s targets: Many antibiotics single out and destroy specific parts of certain bacteria, known as targets. Some bacteria can adapt to change the antibiotic’s target, so the drug can no longer work.
- Bypassing the antibiotic’s effects: Some bacteria can develop new cell processes. This can help the bacteria avoid using the antibiotic’s target, making the drug no longer effective.
Bacteria that do survive antibiotic use will have resistance traits in their DNA that they can pass on when they multiply. They may also
However, people are taking antibiotics too often when they should not. When people misuse antibiotics, they can threaten the usefulness of these medications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that medical professionals in the United States are prescribing around
Antibiotic resistance can cause antibiotic drugs to become less effective. This can make bacterial infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria difficult to treat. In some people, they
Other complications of antibiotic resistance
- longer hospital stays for people with bacterial infections
- higher medical costs
- an increased mortality rate for people with bacterial infections
Medical professionals have recorded antibiotic resistance associated with
Below are some of the bacteria that are
Enterobacteriaceae is a
- urinary tract
Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae)
N. gonorrhoeae is a species of bacteria that
Acinetobacter is a group of bacteria that is
- urinary tract
Infections with Acinetobacter
- with weakened immune systems
- with chronic lung disease
- with open wounds
- on breathing machines or catheters
Antibiotic resistance means that at least three different classes of antibiotics can no longer cure Acinetobacter infections.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa)
P. aeruginosa bacteria
This can occur in people in hospitals with wounds from surgery or who are using breathing machines or catheters. Some strains of P. aeruginosa are resistant to most or all antibiotics. This makes these infections dangerous and hard to treat.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that
Some strains of Salmonella
The following factors
- the misuse of antibiotics
- overuse of antibiotics
- poor infection prevention and control
There are a number of things individuals can do to help prevent and control antibiotic resistance, including:
- only using antibiotics that a certified healthcare professional prescribes to them
- never demanding antibiotics if a healthcare professional says they do not need them
- always following a health worker’s advice when using antibiotics, including taking them for the entire prescribed length
- avoiding sharing or using leftover antibiotics
- regularly washing hands
- preparing food hygienically
- avoiding close contact with people who are unwell
- practicing safe sex
- keeping vaccinations up-to-date
Antibiotics are drugs people take to treat bacterial infections. Some bacteria can adapt or mutate to survive antibiotic treatment. These bacteria can then multiply and pass on their antibiotic resistance to newly formed cells.
Bacterial infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be hard to treat. These infections can also pass from person to person and antibiotic resistance will spread. A person can take steps to help prevent and control antibiotic resistance by only using antibiotics when a doctor prescribes them and always following a healthcare provider’s advice when using them.