What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is a dangerous trait of microbes. It makes them unresponsive to the action of antibiotics. Such resistance may be an acquired or a natural trait. The most common cause is that antibiotics are used too often in the treatment process. Danuta Dzierżanowska writes about it in her book entitled "Practical antibiotic therapy".

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1.Is antibiotic resistance dangerous?

Bacterial strains show resistance to antibiotics. This is dangerous because it is antibiotics that should fight bacteria. However, bacteria are able to build up defense mechanisms that render the antibiotics ineffective. One can speak of primary and acquired resistance here. Primary resistance to antibiotics is a natural feature of bacteria. Some of them are simply resistant to certain antibiotics. Acquired resistance, on the other hand, occurs when a bacterium, through spontaneous mutation or contact with other bacteria, produces resistance to an antibiotic that until recently was effective in fighting it.

Resistance to antibiotics is demonstrated by bacterial strains (123RF)

Antibiotic resistance can also be classified as follows:

• Microbial resistance. Such resistance is characterized in that some bacterial strains can survive higher antibiotic concentrations than the same or related microorganisms.

• Pharmacological resistance. Such resistance is characterized by the fact that bacterial strains can survive higher doses of the antibiotic than those conventionally used in the treatment process.

• Clinical resistance. Such resistance is characterized by resistance to an antibiotic with no other types of resistance present. It may depend on individual drug sensitivity or be related to other medications taken.

Side effects of taking antibiotics [5 photos]

Antibiotics are the last resort for many people. Most often we reach for them when the effects in the treatment ...

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2. Types of antibiotic resistance

There are three basic types of resistance: natural, acquired, and cross.

• Natural resistance, also called primary resistance, is genetically determined. Such a mechanism makes the antibiotic ineffective and it is not dependent on external factors.

• Acquired resistance, also called secondary resistance. It arises as a result of resistance to a given antibiotic, and often even to a whole group of antibiotics. This resistance can be acquired spontaneously as a result of mutation. It can also occur as a result of acquiring genes from another bacterium. The cause of this type of resistance is the use of too many antibiotics both in the treatment process and in the food industry. It occurs when we use antibiotics too often. Especially when it is not medically advisable. This produces acquired resistance and is not effective antibiotic therapy. Danuta Dzierżanowska writes about it in her book. The administration of antibiotics should be the last step in treatment and should be used when other forms of therapy have failed.

• Cross-resistance. It occurs when a bacterium that is resistant to one antibiotic is also resistant to a drug that has a similar chemical structure. This type of resistance is most commonly seen with macrolide antibiotics.

3. Are all bacteria resistant to antibiotics?

Fortunately, not all bacteria are resistant to antibiotics yet. While some bacteria may be resistant to certain types of drugs, others can fight them. In this case, treatment can begin with those antibiotics that have the broadest spectrum of action. It is best, however, before prescribing specific antibiotics, to conduct an antibiogram to select the best antibiotic that will make the treatment faster and effective.

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