Our ignorance leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria

With medical science reaching its peak with its inventions and discoveries, something might have gone wrong with our ignorance.

Around 70 years ago, Alexander Fleming in his Nobel Prize speech addressed the side-effects of using wonder drug with ignorance.

“The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops,” he told his audience.
“Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily under-dose himself and by exposing his microbes to nonlethal quantities of the drug make them resistant,” he added further.

In China, a recent study showed that many of the collected bacteria carried MCR-1 gene. The name may sound harmless, but it describes a sequence of DNA code which makes bacteria invincible to one of the world’s most powerful antibiotics, colistin, which is only used when all other antibiotics are failed.

MCR-1 gene has been detected in at least ten countries including Canada, China, and the UK.

This resistance in bacteria is caused by a mutation which occurs naturally and spontaneously with evolution. However, there are some factors which can catalyze this phenomenon. According to the data collected in 2010 and published in PNAS by an international group of scientists revealed that more than 63000 metric tons of antibiotics are being used in livestock production across the globe, specifically in developing countries.

According to the data of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23,000 Americans die annually due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Around the world, the estimated annual mortality rate is 700,000. If this threat continued, more than 10 million people’s lives would be at stake by coming 30 years. In 2012, the World Health Organisation(WHO) reported an estimated 450,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

Researchers conclude that this whole thing is going on the fast pace because of global connectivity. As people travel to another country, they bring resistant bacterias in their guts or their systems.

“Over the past decade we’ve seen a rapid increase in the number of infections caused by E. coli bacteria,” says Johan Tham, an expert in treating infectious diseases at Malmo University in southern Sweden, “E.coli bacteria which produce enzymes called ESBLs are resistant to many of our most common antibiotics. It means we are often being forced to treat fairly minor infections with intravenous antibiotics, and sometimes these bacteria are even resistant to those.”

Some bacterias which come on the top list of antibiotic-resistant are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA), Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE and Clostridium difficile, which is disturbing.
Another reason for the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is the wide spectrum prescription of antibiotics by doctors to their patients.

About the author

Vibhuti Kushwaha

Vibhuti Kushwaha has been writing for a long time. She enjoys writing about health and tech stuff. Her educational background of computer science helps her to write deeply about technology. She writes engaging and valuable health related articles.

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