Tag Archives: Antibiotic

Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work – CDC Campaign Q&A

Q & A

What are bacteria and viruses?

Bacteria are single-celled organisms usually found all over the inside and outside of our bodies, except in the blood and spinal fluid. Many bacteria are not harmful. In fact, some are actually beneficial. However, disease-causing bacteria trigger illnesses, such as strep throat and some ear infections. Viruses are even smaller than bacteria. A virus cannot survive outside the body’s cells. It causes illnesses by invading healthy cells and reproducing.

What kinds of infections are caused by viruses and should not be treated with antibiotics?

Viral infections that should not be treated with antibiotics include:

  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Most coughs and bronchitis
  • Sore throats (except for those resulting from strep throat)
  • Some ear infection

What is an antibiotic?

Antibiotics, also known as antimicrobial drugs, are drugs that fight infections caused by bacteria. Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928. After the first use of antibiotics in the 1940s, they transformed medical care and dramatically reduced illness and death from infectious diseases.

The term “antibiotic” originally referred to a natural compound produced by a fungus or another microorganism that kills bacteria which cause disease in humans or animals. Some antibiotics may be synthetic compounds (not produced by microorganisms) that can also kill or inhibit the growth of microbes. Technically, the term “antimicrobial agent” refers to both natural and synthetic compounds; however, many people use the word “antibiotic” to refer to both. Although antibiotics have many beneficial effects, their use has contributed to the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Questions about Antibiotic Resistance

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria or other microbes to resist the effects of an antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply causing more harm

Why should I be concerned about antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. Almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it is really needed. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can quickly spread to family members, schoolmates, and co-workers – threatening the community with a new strain of infectious disease that is more difficult to cure and more expensive to treat. For this reason, antibiotic resistance is among CDC’s top concerns.

Antibiotic resistance can cause significant danger and suffering for children and adults who have common infections, once easily treatable with antibiotics. Microbes can develop resistance to specific medicines. A common misconception is that a person’s body becomes resistant to specific drugs. However, it is microbes, not people, that become resistant to the drugs.

If a microbe is resistant to many drugs, treating the infections it causes can become difficult or even impossible. Someone with an infection that is resistant to a certain medicine can pass that resistant infection to another person. In this way, a hard-to-treat illness can be spread from person to person. In some cases, the illness can lead to serious disability or even death.

Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?

Antibiotic use promotes development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant germs may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are primary causes of the increase in drug-resistant bacteria.

While antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections, they are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, most sore throats, and the flu. Widespread use of antibiotics promotes the spread of antibiotic resistance. Smart use of antibiotics is the key to controlling the spread of resistance.

Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses

How do bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply causing more harm. Bacteria can do this through several mechanisms. Some bacteria develop the ability to neutralize the antibiotic before it can do harm, others can rapidly pump the antibiotic out, and still others can change the antibiotic attack site so it cannot affect the function of the bacteria.

Antibiotics kill or inhibit the growth of susceptible bacteria. Sometimes one of the bacteria survives because it has the ability to neutralize or escape the effect of the antibiotic; that one bacterium can then multiply and replace all the bacteria that were killed off. Exposure to antibiotics therefore provides selective pressure, which makes the surviving bacteria more likely to be resistant. In addition, bacteria that were at one time susceptible to an antibiotic can acquire resistance through mutation of their genetic material or by acquiring pieces of DNA that code for the resistance properties from other bacteria. The DNA that codes for resistance can be grouped in a single easily transferable package. This means that bacteria can become resistant to many antimicrobial agents because of the transfer of one piece of DNA.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) produced anine-minute animationExternal Web Site Icon explaining how antimicrobial resistance both emerges and proliferates among bacteria. Over time, the use of antimicrobial drugs will result in the development of resistant strains of bacteria, complicating clinicians’ efforts to select the appropriate antimicrobial for treatment. How

can I prevent antibiotic-resistant infections?

Only use antibiotics when they are likely to be beneficial

By visiting this website, you are taking the first step to reducing your risk of getting antibiotic-resistant infections. It is important to understand that, although they are very useful drugs, antibiotics designed for bacterial infections are not useful for viral infections such as a cold, cough, or the flu. Some useful tips to remember are:

  1. Talk with your healthcare provider about antibiotic resistance:
    • Ask whether an antibiotic is likely to be beneficial for your illness
    • Ask what else you can do to feel better sooner
  2. Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or the flu.
  3. Do not save some of your antibiotic for the next time you get sick. Discard any leftover medication once you have completed your prescribed course of treatment.
  4. Take an antibiotic exactly as the healthcare provider tells you. Do not skip doses. Complete the prescribed course of treatment even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect.
  5. Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. The antibiotic may not be appropriate for your illness. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.
  6. If your healthcare provider determines that you do not have a bacterial infection, ask about ways to help relieve your symptoms. Do not pressure your provider to prescribe an antibiotic.
 
How can healthcare providers help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance?
Prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance by
  • Only prescribe antibiotic therapy when likely to be beneficial to the patient
  • Use an agent targeting the likely pathogens
  • Use the antibiotic for the appropriate dose and duration

(CDC)

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Antibiotic with Glowing Results

New breakthrough with Antibiotics and treating infections:

Glowing Antibiotic can locate the infection:  An image of a mouse injected with hind limb infections (blue) and then a fluorescent variant of the antibiotic vancomycin (red). Credit: Ed Lim

 

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Low doses of a fluorescent antibiotic can accurately track bacterial infection in real-time, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, which were detected in the mouse seen above.  

Quoted: “To track the accuracy of the antibiotic, both strains of bacteria were engineered to be bioluminescent (in blue in photo above).”

Video: How To Spot an Infection:

To read the article in its’ entirety click on the link below:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2013/10/15/glowing-antibiotic-can-locate-where-infections-are-video/

 

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and CDC warns of possible catastrophic consequences

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The CDC has been discussing this matter and publishing information over time in hopes to raise Antibiotic and antibiotic-resistant bacteria awareness in the healthcare industry, and patients/individuals used to depending on Antibiotic therapy for many symptoms that are caused by a virus.

Today the press has released yet one more article with stern headlines regarding “Drug resistant bacteria”  and the possibility of catastrophic consequences combating them.

CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden told reports on Monday that “Without urgent action now, more patients will be thrust back to a time before we had effective drugs.”

The new report has revealed that there are at least two dozen antibiotic resistant bacteria known to harm humans.  Should this path continue some infections will not be able to be treated.

An excerpt from the latest article:

One bacteria atop the agency’s “urgent” list of infections is carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which typically strike patients in medical facilities and has become resistant to nearly all existing antibiotics. Known as the “nightmare bacteria,” CRE causes life-threatening diarrhea. It has continued to proliferate and has been confirmed in medical facilities in nearly every state.

Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. infections, which cause about 14,000 deaths per year, also made the agency’s urgent list Monday. While resistance to the antibiotics used to treat         C. difficile infections has not yet become a problem, the agency said the bacteria spreads rapidly because it is naturally resistant to many drugs that are used to treat other infections.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae — the drug-resistant form of this bacteria causes gonorrhea, the second most commonly reported infection in the United States. Gonorrhea can cause a variety of illnesses in men and women, including infertility. The CDC estimates there are 820,000 infections each year. In nearly a third of the cases, treatment of the sexually-transmitted disease, is hampered by growing antibiotic resistance.

#1 Prevention remains good hand washing (hand hygiene) before/after eating, before exiting restrooms, before/after diaper changes, before/after patient care, before/after using exam gloves, and as often as necessary.

Speak to your healthcare professional when combating a cold and utilize recommended over-the-counter cold symptom relievers, natural interventions vs antibiotics.  Antibiotics do not combat viruses.   When in doubt, please visit a Physician and healthcare provider, as they will assess and treat symptoms accordingly.

To learn more about this topic, please click on the following link which will redirect you to the article in its entirety.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/drug-resistant-bacteria-pose-potential-catastrophe-cdc-warns/2013/09/16/4cd2d482-1ed6-11e3-b7d1-7153ad47b549_story.html