Antibiotic Resistance Essay Research Paper Horror movies

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Antibiotic Resistance Essay, Research Paper Horror movies graphically reveal the ravages of killer plagues and flesh-eating bacteria, but behind this Hollywood hype is a story of real immanent danger. Antibiotic resistant strains of staph and strep are putting the lives and health of people at risk. When first discovered, about 75 years ago, antibiotics were touted as a miracle cure, which they literally were. Infections that were fatal before the turn of the century were turned into mere inconveniences over the last 75 or so years. But we ve come almost full circle, the misuse, over prescriptions, and abuse of antibiotics has allowed resistant strains of bacteria to develop and once again threaten health and life. Diseases that were virtually eliminated with the introduction

of antibiotics are mutating, gaining strength, and resisting treatment. The global increase in resistance to antimicrobial drugs, including the emergence of bacterial strains that are resistant to all available antibacterial agents, has created a public health problem of potentially crisis proportions. How does antibiotic resistance happen? Any time bacteria are exposed to an antibiotic, they are under selective pressure that allows only resistant forms to survive and reproduce. Under an antibiotic blitz, a tiny fraction of any population of otherwise-susceptible bacteria can survive, because they possess mutations- -acquired randomly or from other bacteria that slip them rings of DNA called plasmids- -that counter an antibiotic s effect (Ferber 792). So the basic rule in slowing

the evolution of resistance is reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics because once antibiotics that have lost their effectiveness won t become powerful weapons again (Morell 576). Antibiotic use in the United States has soared since the 1950s, when the total American production of antibiotics was about two million pounds per year. Today the figures exceed 50 million pounds. More than 40 percent of that amount is used in agriculture. Antibiotics are given to animals to treat infections and some are mixed into feed. The amounts consumed in feed are too little to eradicate infection, but are enough to select for resistant bacteria that could pass on to people who consume undercooked meat or raw eggs. Antibiotics mixed into aerosols sprayed on fruit trees get rid of some

bacteria, but also contribute to the selection of resistant ones. Antibiotic residues left on unwashed fruits may attack the good bacteria in our intestinal tracts instead of selecting for more virulent strains. The remainder of the antibiotics produced becomes medications for human use. While necessary and often life saving, these drugs are being taken inappropriately. Is an antibiotic necessary at all? There are many people who believe that when they get sick, antibiotics are the solution. The more times you uses a drug, the more it will decrease the effect it has on you. Viruses, not bacteria, cause colds and flu, thus antibiotic treatment is useless and breed resistance. Treatment for eye infections is another major cause of resistance. Doctors write out more outpatient

antibiotic prescriptions for these infections often wrongly than for any other condition except sinusitis (Super-germ 60). In a review of 1,500 physicians with more than 28,000 patients encounters in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, over 50% of patients with the diagnosis of colds or upper-respiratory infections (conditions usually caused by viruses) were given antibiotics (Gonzales 903). It is difficult in many cases to differentiate between the symptoms of viral and bacterial infections. Since in many cases the symptoms can be very similar, it might take several days to make an accurate diagnosis. Because of this difficulty patients request antibiotics immediately even though they might have a viral infection and not one of bacterial nature. About 12 million