Antibiotic resistance refers to bacteria’s ability to resist the effects of an antibiotic and continue multiplying even while the antibiotic is still present. This usually occurs when the bacteria or the microbes change in a way that decreases the effectiveness of different types of antibiotics or chemicals that usually cure the infection.
Why do bacteria become antibiotic resistant?
Antibiotic resistance is a naturally occurring phenomenon as the resistant strains of bacteria have a higher chance of survival than the bacteria that is susceptible to the antibiotic. Although such a form of natural selection can be the cause of some further antibiotic resistance, the biggest reason for the currently high levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is the overuse of antibiotics. Each time that the antibiotics enter the body, they kill off all of the bacteria that is susceptible to it, but also run the risk of leaving the resistant bacteria alive, giving them a chance to grow and multiply. In many countries, people can purchase antibiotics without a prescription, or over the internet.
Such an easy availability leads to people buying and taking more antibiotics than they really need to, sometimes for illnesses as simple as the common cold, which are viral and not meant to be treated with antibiotics. Thus, it’s the frequent and sometimes improper use of the antibiotic drugs that creates more and more antibiotic resistant bacteria. Likewise, proper use of antibiotics is the way to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.
How do the bacteria become antibiotic resistant?
Scientists have determined that bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics through mutation .The mutations occur very rarely, approximately in one in a million cells, but they do occur. Some such mutations can get rid of the cell target that the antibiotics are designed to attack, while others create resistance through giving the bacteria the ability to produce enzymes that inactivate the antibiotics. The second way that bacteria can become resistant is by receiving that resistance from another bacterium. The bacteria can transfer their antibiotic resistance genes to other bacteria through conjugation, a bacterial mating process, or through a virus’s help. The resistant strains of one bacteriumget stored in the virus’s head and then get injected into another bacterium. Whether the bacteria gained such resistance through virus injections or through mutations, they can now resist one or more specific antibiotic. Later that antibiotic resistance can spread both vertically and horizontally to affect more bacteria.
What are the dangers of antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance is believed to be one of the world’s biggest health problems. The reason for this is that most of the bacteria have already become stronger or more resistant to antibiotics in some way. There is no longer a guarantee that an antibiotic will be effective when it is really needed. Moreover, the bacteria can easily travel from one person to another, soon putting the whole community and the world at risk. It is antibiotic resistance that is the main cause of many new infectious diseases that scientists find so difficult to treat.