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Bacteria resistance to antibiotics: recent trends and challenges

Authors:Stephen T Odonkor and Kennedy K Addo
Int J Biol Med Res. 2011; 2(4): 1204 - 1210  |  PDF File


For several decades, antibiotics have been critical in the fight against infectious disease caused by bacteria and other microbes. Antimicrobial chemotherapy has been a leading cause for the dramatic rise of average life expectancy in the Twentieth Century. However, disease-causing microbes that have become resistant to antibiotic drug therapy are an increasing public health problem. Wound infections, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, pneumonia, septicemia and childhood ear infections are just a few of the diseases that have become hard to treat with antibiotics. One part of the problem is that bacteria and other microbes that cause infections are remarkably resilient and have developed several ways to resist antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs. Another part of the problem is due to increasing use, and misuse, of existing antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine and in agriculture. When antibiotics are underused, overused or misused, the process of antibiotic resistance is increased. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics, which promotes antibiotic resistance, results from patients’ incompliance to recommended treatment and demand, prescribers, irrational use of antibiotics in human, drug advertisement, dispensing doctors and antibiotic use in agriculture, poor quality antibiotics, inadequate surveillance and susceptibility testing. Correcting a resistance problem, then, requires both improved management of antibiotic use and restoration of the environmental bacteria susceptible to these drugs. If all reservoirs of susceptible bacteria were eliminated, resistant forms would face no competition for survival and would persist indefinitely.