The Misuse of Antibiotics and Bacterial Resistance

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The Misuse of Antibiotics and Bacterial Resistance
Samantha Onda
Penn State Worthington Scranton

The growing issue of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is growing more rapidly than anticipated. Numerous factors contribute to this growing issue and it creates a major concern for society today. The main factor in this growing issue is the continuous misuse and overuse of antibiotics. For example, people use them by prescribing antibiotics to themselves, even if they have acquired a viral infection. Furthermore, livestock is pumped full of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent infections. Moreover, bacteria have become smarter and evolved so that they are able to transmit the resistance to other bacteria. This is an
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“Each antibiotic operates at a specific site within the bacterial cell”, as stated by Khachatourians, “thus, when resistant organisms arise, their resistance is specific to particular antibiotics”. Bacteria have evolved so that they can transfer different strains of resistance to their own species and different species (Khachatourians, 1998). The organisms have genetic traits in the chromosomes and extrachromosomal elements for resistance to occur (Khachatourians, 1998). Resistance can occur from a mutation on the chromosomal genes, leading to antibiotic sensitivity. Khachatourians states that, “such mutations occur at a rate of one per million to one per billion cells”. He also explains that, “the extrachromosomal elements (plasmids and transposons) are smaller pieces of circular DNA, each equivalent in size to about 1% of a chromosome” (Khachatourians, 1998). When the bacterial organism acquires the resistance against the antibiotic administered and send it to other species of bacteria this is known as genetic exchange (Khachatourians, 1998).
“As far as mechanisms of resistance are concerned, some bacterial species are normally and inherently insensitive to certain antibiotics, whereas others are sensitive” (Khachatourians, 1998). There are three requirements in order for a bacterium to be considered sensitive. A target for reaction has to occur. Secondly, before the antibiotic is administered,
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