Antibiotics are an excellent man-made weapon against bacterial infections. But do you know? Today, more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to the antibiotics used to destroy them. And antibiotic resistance is the biggest threat to the entire healthcare industry in particular and to society in general.
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WHAT ARE ANTIBIOTICS
Antibiotics have the ability to damage bacteria so that the body’s immune system can fight them more effectively. Please note that antibiotics can only kill bacteria, not viruses.
Different antibiotics are active against different types of bacteria. A doctor’s decision to choose an antibiotic for a patient is based on the assumption that the antibiotic will destroy the bacteria that cause the disease.
Therefore, in fact, one has to carry out regular tests to find out which bacteria are causing the disease and also to choose a specific antibiotic to be effective against them.
Because many antibiotics become less effective than they initially were because bacteria become resistant to their effects (i.e. resistant bacteria, also called drug resistant bacteria). Therefore, antibiotics should only be used if they are absolutely necessary to treat bacterial infections, to avoid antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
WHAT IS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE?
I want to stress that antibiotic resistance here does not mean that the human body is resistant or against the effects of antibiotics. On the contrary, antibiotic resistance occurs when pathogens or bacteria change, rendering antibiotics ineffective, and they continue to survive and multiply with resistant generations and continue to cause infection despite treatment with antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance is also a characteristic of the nature of bacteria, thanks to which they can protect themselves, survive and thrive. In fact, bacteria can either be naturally resistant to antibiotics, or due to a genetic mutation in the same species, or receive the resistance gene from another species of bacteria via a special gene transfer mechanism. What in biology is called “horizontal gene transfer”.
Among them, particularly serious for certain species of bacteria is not only resistant to one antibiotic, but also resistant to a number of different antibiotics which are known as “Superbugs”.
Here are some good examples of superbugs:
Superbugs resistant to carbapenems
– Acinetobacter baumannii group:
Acinetobacter groups are commonly found in soil and water. There are many types of them, and all of them can cause illness in humans, usually pneumonia, serious blood infections, and other illnesses. They often cause disease by spreading through person-to-person contact or with contaminated surfaces.
Although these bacteria do not pose a major threat to healthy people, they are very dangerous for patients with weakened immune systems or who have chronic health problems. In fact, outbreaks of diseases caused by these viruses often occur in hospitals and medical or long-term care facilities, etc.
According to the World Health Organization, these Acinetobacter viruses are responsible for 2-10% of viral infections in healthcare and healthcare facilities in Europe and North America.
– Pseudomonas aeruginosa group:
The Pseudomonas aeruginosa group of superbugs are also known as the green pus bacillus. They are commonly found in soil, water, skin microbiota, and man-made environments such as spas and swimming pools. It is a common virus that causes illness in animals and humans and most commonly occurs in hospitals.
These superbugs can have extremely serious or even fatal consequences, such as postoperative pneumonia or infection through a respiratory system or tube through a surgical wound, or severe ear infection and rash in swimming pools, etc.
Each year in the United States, there are more than 50,000 cases of Pseudomonas aeruginosa virus infections in healthcare facilities, in which thousands of cases are resistant and result in hundreds of deaths.
– Enterobacteriaceae group:
Infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae superbugs are common in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Similar to the first group of superbugs mentioned above (i.e. A. Baumannii), these Enterobacteriaceae superbugs do not normally pose a risk to healthy people, but are the most dangerous to those with immune systems. is weakened.
Enterobacteriaceae superbugs can be spread by person-to-person contact with medical devices such as ventilators.
Some other superbugs:
In addition to the 3 carbapenem-resistant viruses mentioned above, there are other viruses that are also included in the high priority list by WHO including Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus is resistant to methicillin and vancomycin, Helicobacter pylori resistant to clarithromycin, Campylobacter spp.
And fluoroquinolone resistant Salmonella, Neisseria gonorrhoeae is cephalosporin resistant and resistant to fluoroquinolone, and multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli (ie E. coli) are becoming more common and could be a real problem in hospitals.
WHY IS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE AN ISSUE?
Antibiotic resistant bacteria make it difficult or even incurable to treat bacterial infections. Resistant bacterial infections force doctors to use alternative, often more toxic, antibiotics, resulting in extended hospital stays and expensive medical bills.
No one can completely avoid the antibiotic resistance of bacteria, even advanced medical techniques such as cardiopulmonary assistance, dialysis, transplantation … must depend on antibiotics.
In fact, even as humanity makes efforts to develop new antibiotics, antibiotic resistance continues to occur at a faster and more complex rate.
Once the antibiotic is no longer active against resistant bacteria:
The infection will take longer to heal, or will get worse, with more serious consequences for the sick person.
Infections increase the risk of spreading in the community. Because bacteria are resistant to drugs, antibiotics that were effective also become ineffective for others and for the whole community.
In fact, when doctors realize that there are drug resistant bacteria in their patients, doctors have to find alternative drugs, but it is not easy because it depends on having the right drugs to replace. Whether or not alternative medicine is available, the new drug can cause many harmful side effects in the patient, and one day the bacteria will become resistant again. This antibiotic resistance of bacteria to a drug that arrives quickly or slowly depends on many reasons, such as the viability, self-transformation of the bacteria, but also on the human use of the drug.
For these reasons, antibiotic resistance is a major threat to human health. There is concern that there may come a time when there will be infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria that cannot be treated because people cannot find new drugs in time.
So, how do you limit resistance to antibiotics?
AGAINST ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE
First of all, you should know that the increase in antibiotic resistance is mainly due to overuse of antibiotics, misuse of antibiotics, and poor infection prevention practices.
Therefore, to help limit antibiotic resistance, each person should adhere to the following principles:
- Do not take antibiotics for colds or flu, including coughs and sore throats. Viruses cause most colds, and antibiotics are ineffective against viruses.
- Each antibiotic only works on certain types of bacteria, it is necessary to use antibiotics suitable for the bacteria responsible for the disease.
Use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and should be prescribed by your doctor. In addition, the taking of your antibiotics should be as prescribed and complete the entire treatment i.e. take the antibiotic, take the correct dose and take enough time as directed by your doctor. Do not stop taking the medicine when you think the condition is relieved and you will be okay and save the antibiotics for the next time.
- Do not buy antibiotics on your own without asking your doctor for a prescription
- Do not share a prescription antibiotic with a family member or friend – Never give another person an antibiotic that has been prescribed for you.
- And prevent infections by cleaning your hands regularly, eating properly, avoiding close contact with sick people and getting vaccinated properly.