The Worlds Fight Against Microbes Essay Research — страница 3

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possessed genes for a deadly toxin that was very similar to a strain of S. aureus discovered in Toxic Shock Syndrome. This new strain of strep was later dubbed strep A-produced TSLS (Toxic Shock-Like Syndrome). Only a year after its discovery lethal human cases of TSLS had been reported from Canada, the U.S., and several countries in Europe. Streptococcal strains of all types were showing increasing levels of resistance to antibiotics. According to Dr. Harold Neu, who is a Columbia University antibiotics expert, a dose of 10000 units of penicillin a day for four days was more than adequate to cure strep respiratory infections in 1941. By 1992 the same illness required 24 million units a day, and could still be lethal (Garrett 415). The emergence of highly antibiotic resistant

strains Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Pneumococcus, was even more serious. The bacteria normally inhabited human lungs without causing harm; however, if a person were to inhale a strain that differed enough from those to which ho or she had been previously exposed, the individuals immune system might not be able to keep in check (Garrett 415). By 1990, a third of all ear infections occurring in young children were due to Pneumococcus, and nearly half of those cases involved penicillin resistant strains. The initial resistance?s were incomplete. This means that only some of the organisms would die off and the child?s ears would clear up, and both parents and doctor would believe the illness gone. The organisms that did not die off would multiply , and in a few weeks the infection

would be back. Then if the parents used any leftover penicillin?s, they would possible see another apparent recovery, but this time the organisms were more resistant, and the ear infection returned quickly with a vengeance (Garrett 415-16). In poor and developing countries the prevention of pediatric respiratory diseases had to be handled with scarce resources, available antibiotics, and little or no laboratory support to identify the problem. Health officials then defined the disease process not in terms of the organisms involved but according to where the infection was taking place, and the severity of the infection. In general, upper respiratory infections were milder and usually viral, while deep lung involvement indicated a potentially lethal bacterial disease. In 1990 the

World Health Organization (WHO) said that the best policy for developing countries was to assume that pediatric pneumonia?s were bacterial, and treat with penicillin in the absence of laboratory proof of a viral infection. This process was shown to have reduced the number of child deaths in the test areas by more than a third, and even more surprising was that there was a 36 percent reduction in child deaths due to all other causes. This was only the good news. The bad news was that penicillin?s and other antibiotics offered no more benefit to children with mild and usually viral respiratory infections than not taking any drugs at all and staying home. This was due to the fact that antibiotics have no effect on viruses. Another key danger was that village doctors, who lacked

training and laboratory support, would overuse antibiotics, which would in turn promote the emergence of new antibiotic resistant S. pneumoniae (Garrett 417). Because of drug use policies in both wealthy and poor countries, antibiotic resistant strains of pneumococcal soon turned up all over the world. Some of these strains were able to withstand exposure to six different classes of antibiotics simultaneously. This emergence of drug resistance usually occurred in communities of social and economic deprivation. Poor people were more likely to self-medicate themselves using antibiotics purchased off the black market, or borrowing leftovers from relatives (Garrett 417-19). ” Whether one looked in Spain, South Africa, the United States, Romania, Pakistan, Brazil, or anywhere else,

the basic principle held true: overuse or misuse of antibiotics, particularly in small children and hospitalized patients, prompted emergence of resistant mutant organisms” (Garrett 419). Infectious diseases thought to be common, and relatively harmless are now becoming lethal to people of all ages, race, and socioeconomic status because of the misuse of medicines, which make the diseases ever more drug resistant, and short sighted political policies. It now seems that the microbes now have the macrobes on the run. Consider the difference in size between some of the very tiniest and the very largest creatures on Earth. A small bacterium weighs as little as 0.00000000001 grams. A blue whale weighs about 100000000 grams. Yet a bacterium can kill a whale … Such is the