1. Antibiotic resistance
  2. antimicrobial resistance
  3. Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance

 What is antibiotic resistance, and what causes it?

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when exposed to antimicrobial drugs (antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, anthelmintics), developing resistance mechanisms to the effect of the medicines (superbugs). 

Antibiotic resistance

Since the discovery of penicillin by Dr. Fleming in 1928, when he noticed that some colonies of Staphylococcus aureus were destroyed by the growth and contamination of the penicillium fungus, antibiotic treatment has played a significant role in the control of bacterial infections and has increased life expectancy. However, misuse or abuse of these drugs can have an undesirable effect. Therefore, antibiotics should be taken cautiously to remain effective for as long as possible.

What is it?

Antibiotic resistance appears when antibiotics select resistant microorganisms and eliminate sensitive ones. Then, the drugs become less effective, infections persist in the body and the risk of transmission to other people increases.

As established in 2016 by the WHO (World Health Organization), antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon, although misuse and abuse in humans and animals select the process and increase its occurrence. At the same time, this international institution recognized that "it is one of the greatest threats to world health," being able to affect any person, age, and country. Even the WHO it is admitted that there are more and more infections (pneumonia, tuberculosis...) whose treatment becomes more difficult due to the loss of effectiveness of antibiotics (prolonging the time of stay in hospital and increasing the mortality). It is even stated that the success of major surgery, organ transplants, or chemotherapy could be compromised by infections caused by resistant microorganisms.

What causes resistance?

Bacteria are everywhere and multiply rapidly. We have more bacteria in our bodies than in human cells. They are not always harmful to our bodies, but in many cases, we need them, and they are beneficial, although if they grow, they can end up causing infections.

Bacteria are programmed to survive: "adapt or die" and become superbugs. Resistant bacteria are found in humans, animals, food,... water, soil, and air. Their spread occurs between humans and humans and animals and is currently more outstanding due to the significant movement of people worldwide. There are two fundamental types of resistance to antibiotics, the intrinsic (belonging to all members of a species) and the acquired (bacteria can suffer random mutations and can transfer genetic information - in this case, antibiotic resistance - to other bacteria).

The selection of resistance to antibiotics is due to two leading causes:

1. Abuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals, as well as poor patient compliance. 
2. Excessive antibiotic prophylaxis.