?Antibiotics are medications made of natural or synthetic material that kills or arrests a microorganism, primarily bacteria. One of the earliest discovered and widely used antibiotic agents is penicillin. Penicillin is the first natural antibiotic which is derived from penicillium fungi and is used to treat and prevent a variety of bacterial infections. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming.
At the time, however, the importance of Alexander Fleming’s discovery was not known. Use of penicillin did not begin until the 1940s when Howard Florey and Ernst Chain isolated the active ingredient and developed a powdery form of the medicine. Since then penicillin became the most widely used antibiotic, and was first available for civilian use in Australia after World War II. Between 1944 and 1972 human life expectancy increased by 8 years due to penicillin being introduced.
Before the discovery of antibiotics, most bacterial caused infections resulted in death, Streptococcus pyogenes caused half of all post-birth deaths and Staphylococcus aureus was fatal in 80 percent of infected wounds and the tuberculosis and pneumonia bacteria were famous killers. Four years after drug companies began mass-producing penicillin in 1943, microbes began appearing that could resist it. The first bug to have a resistance to penicillin was Staphylococcus aureus which is often a harmless passenger in the human body, but it can cause illness when it overgrows or produces a toxin.
Due to worldwide inappropriate antibacterial treatment and overuse of antibiotics, common bacteria has become and is still becoming resistant to treatment with drugs. Antibiotic resistance is caused by the genetic change in the bacterium which occurs in two ways; spontaneous mutation in the bacterium’s DNA antibiotic and the transfer of antibiotic-resistant genes. A common way of which antibiotics are misused is when people use them for illnesses which do not require it such as to treat viral infections like the common cold.
Antibiotics have no effect on these viral infections and make it become less effective against the bacteria they’re intended to treat. Another common form of antibacterial misuse is when antibiotics are not taken exactly as prescribed. Often patients discontinue the treatment, by not undertaking the full course of antibiotics the bacterial infection might not be completely wiped out. When the bacteria which is trying to be treated with antibiotics is exposed to insufficient dose of antibiotics they develop stronger defences.
This situation can give rise to a resistant strain which may be difficult to treat or can’t be treated at all in the future. Antibiotic overuse is also a major issue as to why antibiotic resistance is growing so rapidly. People take 235 million doses of antibiotics every year, Australia being one of the highest users of antibiotics in the world, there are just over 22 does of antibiotics prescribed per thousand people, every day. Another way in which antibiotic resistance is developing is through the use of antibiotics in agriculture.
In the 1950s it was observed that adding low levels of antibiotics to animal feed caused the animals to gain weight faster. Since that time antibiotic use in animal feed has been widespread, 40 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are used in this way. Due to the products of these animals being eaten, it is estimated that between 2 and 4 million people go through Campylobacter infections per year from exposure to Campylobacter infected poultry.
These infections are usually minor, about 250 people die each year from it and another 1 in 1000 infections lead to Guillan-Barre syndrome which can cause paralysis. Antibiotics also have reactions to bacteria which do not affect a person and are beneficial and neutral. These bacterium’s that live in and on bodies are important for our health and well-being. However, these ‘friendly’ bacteria can develop resistance to the antibiotics and can pass that resistance to disease causing bacteria that pass their way.
Antibacterial cleaning products may also be producing strains of multi-antibioic- resistant bacteria. There are several issues involved of how antibacterial cleaning products can be resistant to bacteria, these consist of; the disinfectant may not have enough of the antibacterial agent to destroy the bacteria completely. When bacteria is exposed to antibacterial cleaning products, most bacteria will survive but some may survive and multiply Antibiotic resistance is a severe case throughout the world.
The era before the introduction of penicillin may come again, conditions such as wound infections and tuberculosis, once killers, suddenly became treatable saving millions of lives due to the use of antibiotics, those stages are a fear to the public today and are expected to return in the next few generations if a new substance isn’t found. Nowadays, about 70 percent of the bacteria that cause infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used for treatment.