Thursday, April 26, 2012

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is the resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial medicine that was previously sensitive. Resistant organisms are able to handle an attack by an antimicrobial medicine so that a normal treatment would become ineffective and then the infection continues on and could spread. 
Penicillin was discovered in 1929 by the British microbiologist, Alexander Fleming. Penicillin is an antibiotic produced by the common bread mold Penicillium. During World War II, penicillin was available for medical use and successfully used to treat infections, since then penicillin was most commonly used to treat a wide range of infections.  In 1967 the first Penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae was observed by doctors in Australia, seven years later in the U.S. another case of penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae was observed by doctors in a patient with pneumococcal meningitis. In the 1980s it was estimated that 3-5% of Streptococcus pneumoniae were penicillin-resistant and by 1998, 34% of the Streptococcus pneumoniae were resistant to penicillin. The increase in resistance among this organism clearly shows a change in the frequency of antibiotic resistance genes. Now to treat Streptococcus pneumoniae, doctors must used a different antibiotic to treat the infected human or they would live with the infection for the rest of their life, but the infection would eat away at the throat and would eventually kill them. 

1 comment:

  1. The article you linked to was cool... although very high level. I got nervous at first because it started in a different language. 6 mutations cause the bacteria to be able to survive with high amounts of oxidants. Penicillin functions by facilitating the accumulation of oxidants which typically cause cell damage to the point of death. These mutations allow bacteria to live despite this exposure... thus the antibiotic has no affect! Scary. Soon we will need to take an antibiotic that destroys our liver while clearing the infection.