Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bacteria Resistant to Last Resort Antiobiotics

Antibiotics, super drugs of our age, have been suddenly decreasing in effectiveness around the world, as bacteria continue to adapt. Earlier this month, scientists in South China have identified enterobacteriaceae, found in pigs and humans, containing a powerful gene resistant to last-resort antibiotics. This mcr-1 gene gives bacteria a successful resistance to polymyxins (colistin and polymyxin B). Mcr-1 was once identified on a bacterium's single chromosome from a mutation. Now, the gene is located on bacterial plasmid, which is circular DNA more easily transmitted from bacteria through conjugation. Consequently, resistance to polymyxins and other antibiotics is rapidly increasing.  

Experiments and research show bacteria with this resistance originated in animals, pigs to be exact, but now are effecting humans as well. Animal feed contains strong antibiotics for product preservation and animal health. This exposure of antibiotics has promoted bacterial resistance in pigs, as bacteria develop and adapt to survive. The same enterobacteriaceae are now effecting people in China. This could cause widespread epidemic, and no drug could stop the bacteria from affecting massive population around the globe. 

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a major concern. Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious disease specialist, sums up our responsibility to prevent major crisis and antibiotic resistance. He states, "If you don't need antibiotics, don't take them…you are only giving bacteria more practice." Let us be wise. 

Other Article: Experiment

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