Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Post-Antimicrobial Era

With the ever-rising misuse of antibiotics, bacterial strains are acquiring antibiotic resistant genes and becoming superbugs.  Horizontal gene transfer allows the resistant alleles to be spread in the bacteria, increasing the spread and emergence of antibiotic resistance.  Some strains of bacteria are actually accumulating resistance to a wide range of antibiotic medications.
Bacteria have short generation times, resulting in the increase of their population sizes.  Humans are promoting antibiotic resistance in multiple ways such as; not finishing their prescriptions, taking other people's prescriptions, and using antibiotics in agricultural settings.  We could be entering a post-antimicrobial era as a result of selection pressures that humans are creating for bacteria.  I think that people need to be educated and reminded that misusing antibiotics will eventually lead to a time when infections will be untreatable.  The only way we can slow down the increase the spread of resistance genes is to reduce the selection pressures that bacteria are being exposed to.

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