The Antibiotics Resistance Crisis

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Alexander Fleming, the person who discovered antibiotics, said in his Nobel lecture “it is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them, and the same thing has occasionally happened in the body. The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant” as early as 1945.

We are now living in the time where what Fleming feared is a reality. Antibiotics are now taken for granted and used for many diseases that don’t need to be treated with them. As a result, antibiotics resistance has now become a major health problem that should be taken seriously. Antibiotics resistance could set medicine advancement years back, because of the possibility of dying from simple bacterial infections. This would also mean a significant increase in the risk of medical procedures that are commonly practiced nowadays, such as transplantation, chemotherapy, or big surgeries.

It is important to identify the causes of antibiotics resistance, so we could take the necessary steps needed to stop it. These include;

1. Overuse

Due to the easy access to antibiotics, it is easy for anybody to get themselves antibiotics. This could lead to irresponsible use of antibiotics, resulting in antibiotics resistance.

2. Inappropriate prescribing

Antibiotics that are prescribed for diseases that aren’t caused by bacteria contribute to the rise of antibiotics resistance. They should be prescribed appropriately to decrease the rate of antibiotics resistance.

3. Extensive agricultural use

In many farms where the condition of animal farms are less than ideal, farmers often feed their animals extensive antibiotics to prevent them from getting diseases. The antibiotics used in livestock are ingested by humans when they consume food. A last-line antibiotic became resistant in Japan despite tight regulation, it was later discovered that the use of the antibiotic in livestock was a major factor of its resistance.

4. Availability of few new antibiotics

The logical response to antibiotics resistance is discovering new antibiotics. However, the new antibiotics that are available don’t match the rates of bacteria being resistant to old antibiotics.

We should always be responsible for what we do and not take anything we have for granted. This is also a public health problem, as whether we contribute to the advancement of antibiotics resistance could affect many other people. Hence, we should do what is right and keep our knowledge updated, not only for ourselves, but for our responsibility as a member of a much bigger society.

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References

Ventola CL. The antibiotic resistance crisis: part 1: causes and threats. Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2015 Apr;40(4):277.

Rosenblatt-Farrell N. The landscape of antibiotic resistance. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2009 Jun;117(6):A244.

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