What Doesnt kill them makes them stronger

What Doesn’t Kill Them Makes Them Stronger





Humans live in constant contact with not only plants and animals, but also
with bacteria. Bacteria are everywhere: in water and soil and in the bodies of
humans and other animals. The majority of bacteria don’t have the ability to
cause disease, but that doesn’t mean that they are totally harmless. The
problem arises when disease – causing bacteria interact, and are frequently in
contact with the commensal, or harmless bacteria. They serve as reservoirs for
resistance genes; collecting them and holding them for future transmission to
other bacteria. As the resistance is transmitted from bacteria to bacteria,
eventually it will be passed to one with disease – causing potential.

Humans have grown accustomed to always having antibiotics just a prescription
away, and knowing that they will cure their illness. These chemical substances,
which are often natural, kill the bacteria by specifically targeting its
ribosome or replication machinery. “Virtually all of modern medicine rests on
the efficiency of



antibiotics, due to the fact that they not only cure bacterial infections but
also decrease the infectious disease risk of surgery, chemotherapy and
transplants to a low enough level to make them medically possible. But what
happens when these antibiotics fail to do their job, and there is nothing that
can stop the dangerous bacteria from spreading? This resistance to antibiotics
is becoming an increasing threat to the human population and precautions must be
taken to prevent the problem from getting worse.

In today’s society, bacteria are now more mobile than they ever were
before, which makes it even easier for them to multiply and transmit resistance.
They have grown to evolve naturally so that they are able to survive in the
hostile environments they are often subject to. Bacteria, in every environment
where antibiotics are used, are constantly evolving and exchanging genes that
confer resistance to antibiotics. The bacteria are able to transfer genes to one
another by means of horizontal gene transfer. This process allows bacteria to
become resistant to antibiotics by acquiring DNA from another bacterium that
already has the resistance. When the resistance is attained, that particular
antibiotic no longer is able to



inhibit the growth or kill the bacteria. Once a resistant strain is
developed, all of the offspring of that bacterium will contain the resistance.
Because these organisms then pick up further resistance to other drugs and
continue to pass them on, all it’s going to do it get worse.

This problem of resistant bacteria has been found to be an extremely
dangerous concern in today’s hospitals. They account for three out of every
five hospital – acquired infections, affecting nearly two million Americans.
Half of all of these two million cases are resistant to at least one antibiotic.
Resistance has proved to be an especially worrisome problem for people with
immune disorders such as AIDS, cancer patients, and also recipients of organ
transplants. It has been found that almost 90% of these patients that get
multiple-drug resistant TB end up dying.

A drug – resistant form of Salmonella, known as Salmonella Typhimurium has
recently emerged in the United States. This Salmonella subtype has been
associated with severe human illness and even death, due to the fact that it has
numerous antimicrobial resistance. Studies show that the Salmonella Typhimurium
is present in animals both wild



and domesticated, and can be easily transmitted to humans. These same studies
show that eating beef, pork, or poultry products has been associated with
outbreaks of the disease in humans.

As soon as a particular strain of virus becomes resistant to an antibiotic,
doctors must be forced to prescribe alternate medications in order to cure the
bacteria. “ If you had an antibiotic recently, you’re three to nine times
more likely to have a resistant infection that someone who has not had an
antibiotic.” Once the different types of antibiotics have been used, there is
not much else that can be done. Unlike other fields of medicine, antibiotics
have not been a main focus of researchers. We are still commonly using
medications such as penicillin, which have been around for over fifty years, but
what has happened with it is also becoming common. When first put to use,
penicillin got rid of all staph (Staphylococcus aureus) infections. Today in the
U.S., more than 90% of these strains are resistant to penicillin, along with
numerous other bacteria. As the antibiotics become more and more popular and are
overused, it is more likely that viruses will develop resistance to them.



Resistance can develop in less time than you would think. For example, it is
a proven fact that one