Bacterial Evolution

In the late 19th century, diseases led researchers to find treatments to kill the growth of microbes. The outcome of the search was a new kind of medicine which is known as antibiotics. Antibiotics is a variety of substances that control the growth or kill bacteria. Since bacteria is evolving rapidly and resisting antibiotics due to the overuse of the medicine, reducing the need and use would help slow down the bacteria from evolving. There are many things that can be done to help slow down the resistance of antibiotics. If the trend of this resistance keeps growing antibiotics wont be able to help the human body from a bacterial infection.

For over 70 years antibiotics have been used to treat people with infectious diseases. Penicillin was the first type of antibiotic known to man. It was developed by Alexander Fleming in 1928 to fight bacterial infections. When Fleming took a two week vacation, a culture plate of Staphylococcus bacteria from an experiment was left and became contaminated with Penicillium Notatum mold. When Fleming discovered the culture plate, he noticed that surrounding the mold was a distinct clear halo. Fleming assumed that Penicillium was able to inhibit bacterial growth.

With this accidental development Fleming was given the Noble Prize in 1945 for his achievements(***). An Oxford University research team took 11 years after Flemings discovery to isolate and purify penicillin in order for it to be used. Finally in 1940 mice were injected with a lethal dose of Streptococcus and cured with penicillin to test the antibiotic. After successfully experimenting with mice, testing with patients began immediately. Penicillin quickly became the main treatment of bacterial infections like syphilis, gangrene, and tuberculosis.

If it wasn’t for Flemings accidental experiment antibiotics might have taken longer to be developed or might even be nonexistent. In order to understand the problem that is antibiotic resistance it is important to know how and why bacteria has started to become resistant with the medication. When bacteria is able to withstand the effects of an antibiotic it is known as antibiotic resistance. This type of resistance can happen naturally through random mutation or can also be engineered by applying evolutionary stress.

When a resistant gene gets formed, bacteria is then able to transfer its genetic information between other bacteria. The bacteria with the mutation allowing them to survive will be the ones to reproduce and pass on the trait to their offspring which will be a fully resistant generation. Bacteria is one of the fastest reproducing organisms in the world, it can double every four to twenty minutes. Every day many people are dying because bacteria is becoming resistant. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about 150,000 people in the US have died of bacterial infection in resent years(***).

Not only should one know why antibiotic resistance is occurring but also the many people who are misusing it. One of the main causes for bacterial resistance is that many don’t understand when or how to use antibiotics. People expect or ask to be prescribed antibiotics from their doctors when they feel sick or have the common cold. Antibiotics are intended to treat bacterial infections not viral infections. The common cold is a viral infection and should not be treated with antibiotics; however, that is not always the case.

According to the American College of Physicians (ACP) 190 million doses of antibiotics are administered in hospitals each day and 133 million courses are prescribed by doctors each year(****). About half of those prescriptions are unnecessary since they are being used for colds, coughs, and other viral infections. A successful method in determining whether or not a cold or sickness is a bacterial infection is to test it. If the patient has a sore throat they should be given a culture test. If the test results indicate that it is a bacterial infection, then antibiotics should be prescribed.

Another way in which antibiotics are being improperly used is when the patient does not follow the prescription as instructed. If a patient leaves one or two pills because they don’t feel the need to continue with their treatment, bacteria can live and resistant future treatment. Both physicians and patients play a role in the increase of antibiotic resistance. Many people can take action to reduce the risk of exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria. When taking the necessary precautions it is not only helping oneself but also helping the larger problem.

One way to reduce the risk of exposure from these harmful bacteria is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water. It is important to not use antibacterial soap because these products help contribute to the resistance of antibiotics. This method is the best way to prevent the spread of infections. A second method is when prescribed an antibiotic ask if it is a bacterial infection. There is no need in taking antibiotics if it is not necessary. Antibiotics only kill bacteria and fungus never viruses so there is no need in asking a doctor for that medicine when dealing with a virus.

Another precaution that can be taken is when prescribed a certain amount of antibiotic it is important to take the entire bottle as directed. Not finishing the prescription can leave bacteria in your system which will fight future treatment. Eating organically grown foods is yet another way to reduce the risk of antibacterial resistant exposure. Many animals are given hormones and antibiotics which are later consumed by people. The hormones and antibiotics given to farm animals to keep them healthy later contribute to the resistance of antibiotics in your system later down the road.

Lastly, a person can also seek help from health care practitioners who know how to treat illnesses without antibiotics. These types of doctors are able to effectively fight off viral and minor bacterial infections without the use of antibiotics. Other minor precautions that can ultimately help the larger problem is not flushing the unused antibiotics down the toilet, sink, or any type of drain. All of these methods help reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance in the body. Since 1928 one man was able to developed a medicine that was able to fight bacteria in the body; however, it was not perfected until 11 years later.

This new medication treated many people and continues to do so. Throughout the years antibiotics started to be used incorrectly and for the wrong reasons. This became a public health problem that continues to grow everyday. There are many ways to prevent or at least slow down the resistance of bacteria. These simple tasks can help reduce an individuals risk to antibiotic resistance. If everyone does their part in helping prevent this bacterial resistance from growing we should be able to use antibiotics for a very long time to come.

?Antibiotics are medications made of natural or synthetic material that kills or arrests a microorganism, primarily bacteria. One of the earliest discovered and widely used antibiotic agents is penicillin. Penicillin is the first natural antibiotic which is derived from penicillium …

1. Define the term antibiotics Antibiotics are a drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms. Originally, an antibiotic was a substance produced by one microorganism that selectively inhibits the growth of another. Synthetic antibiotics, usually chemically …

Antibiotics use is as popular as ever with American people today. Every day over 190 million doses of antibiotics are administered in hospitals and more than 133 million antibiotic prescriptions are written out to non-hospitalized patients every year (4). These …

Pulmonary infections can be caused by two kinds of infection: viral infection or bacterial infection. Initially the type of infection can be roughly determined through the symptoms observed in the patient. According to the symptoms, the patient coughs and exhibited …

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