The Misuse of Antibiotics and Bacterial Resistance
Penn State Worthington Scranton
The growing issue of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is growing more rapidly than anticipated. Numerous factors contribute to this growing issue and it creates a major concern for society today. The main factor in this growing issue is the continuous misuse and overuse of antibiotics. For example, people use them by prescribing antibiotics to themselves, even if they have acquired a viral infection. Furthermore, livestock is pumped full of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent infections. Moreover, bacteria have become smarter and evolved so that they are able to transmit ...view middle of the document...
“Fleming discovered that antiseptics commonly used at the time were doing more harm than good, as their diminishing effects on the body's immunity agents largely outweighed their ability to break down harmful bacteria” (Alexander Felming Biography, 2015). Through this discovery, Fleming found that more soldiers were dying from this type treatment, rather than the infections themselves. In 1921, Fleming discovered that there is an antiseptic in body fluids called lysozyme. He mixed a drop of his mucus with a cluster of bacteria, expecting that he would affect the growth of the bacteria. He observed that the bacteria had been dissolved (Alexander Felming Biography, 2015).
Later, in 1928, Fleming discovered that a specimen of Staphylococcus aureus was contaminated by mold (Alexander Felming Biography, 2015). The mold surrounding the Staphylococcus aureus destroyed the bacteria. He first called the discovery of his mold “mold juice”, but he later named it “penicillin” (Alexander Felming Biography, 2015). After perfecting penicillin, it was used in World War II and starting killing a mass of infections. In 1945. Fleming and two others that helped him perfect penicillin, received a Nobel Prize for the discovery of this antibiotics that changed the face of medicine (Alexander Felming Biography, 2015).
Process of Resistance
There are a couple different factors that come into play when it comes to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. In order for resistance to develop, the organism of the bacteria must come in contact with the antibiotic administered (Khachatourians, 1998). Then, the organism has to send the resistance of the antibiotic to daughter organisms or others of the same species (Khachatourians, 1998). “Each antibiotic operates at a specific site within the bacterial cell”, as stated by Khachatourians, “thus, when resistant organisms arise, their resistance is specific to particular antibiotics”.
Bacteria have evolved so that they can transfer different strains of resistance to their own species and different species (Khachatourians, 1998). The organisms have genetic traits in the chromosomes and extrachromosomal elements for resistance to occur (Khachatourians, 1998). Resistance can occur from a mutation on the chromosomal genes, leading to antibiotic sensitivity. Khachatourians states that, “such mutations occur at a rate of one per million to one per billion cells”. He also explains that, “the extrachromosomal elements (plasmids and transposons) are smaller pieces of circular DNA, each equivalent in size to about 1% of a chromosome” (Khachatourians, 1998). When the bacterial organism acquires the resistance against the antibiotic administered and send it to other species of bacteria this is known as genetic exchange (Khachatourians, 1998).
“As far as mechanisms of resistance are concerned, some bacterial species are normally and inherently insensitive to certain antibiotics, whereas others are sensitive” (Khachatourians,...