Medical representatives have reinforced the idea that irrational pill intake could lead to antibiotic resistance. Officials say that people should take into consideration that many illnesses are not provoked by bacteria and therefore their treatment should be approached differently.
Last month, the first case of colistin-resistant E. coli had been discovered in the US. Colistin was the most powerful medicine, the last resort for patients with resistant infections.
The bacteria became resistant because of the mcr-1 gene. The gene is capable of moving from one bacterium to another and even to create a bacteria mutant that could be resistant to all types of antibiotics.
The change of genetic code can prevent the antibiotic to attack the bacteria cells. From 1000 bacteria, if all get killed and only one resist, the one that survives will grow and spread.
Experts say that each person may carry at any given moment approximately 3 pounds of bacteria.
“Our three departments take the emergence of this resistance gene very seriously. A coordinated public health response is underway to try to prevent its spread,” said the state officials from the Department of Health and Human Services on their blog.
One of the first measures was to ensure the correct use of antibiotics, which means that each bacteria presence is treated with the appropriate antibiotic. Another measure was to avoid additional intake of antibiotics. For example, sinus infections usually go away by themselves.
The medical representatives say that hospitals are the most common place for bacteria growth. Thus, patients that are suspected of having infections are isolated. Hospital managers ensure that proper hygiene is put in place.
Another concern is the use of antibiotics in animals. Pig intestines were also found to contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The health officials recommendation is that unnecessary pills intake should be avoided by all means. People should understand that some illnesses take just several days, and the body recovers by itself with no help from drugs.
There is also a need for a paradigm shift. As antibiotics are available inexpensively at many pharmacies, people started to think that taking antibiotics is not a big deal and does not affect their body.
Another adverse effect of antibiotic overuse is the appearance of Clostridium difficile, an infection affecting the intestines.
As people travel around the world a lot more often than before, officials believe that disease can be spread more quickly. One example is the antibiotics resistant tuberculosis that appeared in a certain part of the world and could get to everywhere else.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America is trying to obtain more funding for antibiotic research.
Antibiotics are not economically appealing for drug companies because of their average low use when compared with other medicines, such as cholesterol medication that must be taken daily for many years.
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