Monday, June 18, 2007

Antibiotic resistance!!

In 1941, when penicillin was first produced, it was hailed as a wonder drug that could control several serious bacterial infections. Medical experts quickly predicted that infectious diseases would become history. But the bacteria that are under attack don't just take this abuse lying down, they evolve to fight back. Bacteria respond via the natural process of occasional changes to their DNA. It survives and passes down the resistant trait to its offspring.

Therefore within 2 years, penicillin resistant bacteria which resist the effect of penicillin was reported. Almost as soon antibiotics became available, bacteria began developing ways to fight back. Ever since, we have been in a race between the development of new and more powerful antibiotics and the ability of bacteria to adapt itself to defeat those drugs.

For examples,
Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium found normally in our noses and our skin. It can cause minor infections, or life threatening diseases like pneumonia. Penicillin used to kill it in 1940s, but in the 1950s Staph aureus had become so resistant to Penicillin that healthy people going to hospitals got sick and died. So drug company developed Methicillin in the 1960s. By 1980s, Stap aureus was resistant to Methicillin.

Therefore, we use Vancomycin, often known as a last resort antibiotics to finish off the bacteria. But in 1997, cases of vancomycin-resistant Staph aures showed up.

Therefore in the year 2000, linezolid was approved to fight it. It took less than a year for the first cases of linezolid resistant Staph aureus to show up. So patients who are actually infected by Linezolid and Vancomycin Resistant Staph aureus (VRSA) can basically call their day. It is actually more dangerous than AIDS. At least with AIDS, you may have another 10-20 years to live.

Can you imagine yourself going to visit a friend in hospital, you touch some chairs with VRSA, then you forget to wash your hands when you get back home, and worse you accidentally cut yourself or somehow the VRSA manage to get into your blood stream touch your eyes, noses, or you have a cut? Pls remember these type of infectious wound and diseases do not heal!!

Ask the pharmacist!
1) Ask your Dr. why are you taking the antibiotics? Is it necessary? It is ok if you don't take them?

Do you know how misuse of antibiotics cause antibiotics resistance bacteria to develop?
When a microbial population of various organisms is exposed to an antibiotic, the bacteria susceptible to the antibiotic will be killed. Bacterias that have some resistance survive. Without other species around to compete for food, it is easier for the resistant bacteria to proliferate. The result is that antibiotics kill off the weak bacteria, and they also increase the stronger one and made them become MORE AND MORE!!
2)Take full course of antibiotics.
As i said before, the weakest germs are killed within the first few days and symptoms often disappear, so usually the patient will stop taking the antibiotics thinking that they have recovered fully. This is where it goes wrong because the stronger bacteria, which can resist the first few days of medication, will survive, evolve and spread. They will be back, prepared for the battle with their armor on!! And the same weapons that we have i.e. our antibiotics won't work anymore. It is important for us to kill every single one of their bacteriakind at the first round of attack itself by finishing the whole course of antibiotics (usually for 7 to 10 days, NOT 3 DAYS)

3) Always maintain a good hygiene. Wash your hands.

4)If you don't know what medicine you are taking.. don't take it!! Ask for more information.

What say u? Bacteria winning or human winning the fight? Ask yourself...Are you contributing to the proliferation of these bacteria?

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