Bacteria are living organisms that can help the body and also cause infectious diseases. They are microscopic organisms and the largest is only 10 micrometres long (the same size as the world’s smallest guitar) the only living thing smaller than them is viruses. They can come in lots of different shapes and sizes. They grow and multiply every 20 minutes and are the same as the bacteria they came from, however they can sometimes mutate to adapt to their surroundings One such mutation is if they are exposed to too much antibiotics they could become resistant to the antivbiotic.
Bacteria can mutate to become resistant in several ways. One is to deactivate the antibiotic before it reaches the inside of the bacterial cell, another is to pump the antibiotic out of the cell, yet another is to alter the protein on the bacterial cell so the antibiotic doesn’t recognise the cell and finally they can produce enzymes to destroy the antibiotic.
Antibiotics Antibiotics are a type of medicine that is essentially a selective poison because it kills bacteria and doesn’t damage the body’s cells.
However, they are ineffective against viruses because viruses reproduced inside host cells and it is very difficult to get rid of them without damaging the host cells. Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin which was the first antibiotic. According to some research around 1. 6 million antibiotics that were prescribed last year weren’t needed by the patient, for example if someone has a bad cold, antibiotics wouldn’t help as colds are viruses and antibiotics have no effect on them.
The reason doctors prescribe them anyway is that over demanding patients pressure the doctor into giving out antibiotics they don’t really need. This could lead to the patient getting a resistant strain of bacteria and then passing them on to others around them. Antibiotic Resistance Antibiotic resistance is a mutation of bacteria where it becomes resistant to antibiotics. When an antibiotic is used to treat an infection the non-resistant bacteria will be killed and the resistant bacteria will still be there and then reproduce.
If the antibiotic is still used then the resistant bacteria will increase. Resistant bacteria can cause infections which can’t be treated with the usual antibiotics in their normal dose and concentration. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious public health risks of the 21st century. In the simplest cases antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria are resistant to first line antibiotics and second line can treat it.
First line antibiotics are used because of their safety, availability and cost, second line may be broader spectrum, so not as effective, have a less favourable risk- benefit profile, be more expensive or locally unavailable. Some bacteria are resistant to second and third line antibiotics, for example Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) can only be treated with vancomycin which has some serious side effects. ‘Superbugs’ ‘Superbugs’ is a term given to infections caused by antibiotic strains of bacteria. MRSA is an example of an antibiotic resistant strain of normal bacteria.
The reason there are resistant strains is that doctors have been overprescribing antibiotics for years which has led to the bacteria becoming resistant to them. In 2011 nearly 41 million prescriptions for antibiotics were given out, however, only 37. 2 million prescriptions were given in 2006 which is a 10 per cent rise in five years. The reason ‘superbugs’ are so dangerous is not just their resistance to current antibiotics but the fact that as scientists create more aggressive drugs to fight them the side effects of said drugs also increase.
For example vancomycin is a very dangerous drug with side effects being; Red neck (red man) syndrome (painful rash and low blood pressure); thrombocytopenia (bleeding from nose mouth and bruises on arms); Leukopenia (drop in white blood cells, especially not good since dealing with an already advanced infection) and sudden death. But it is the only way to treat MRSA so it must be used. If scientists were to try and create more aggressive drugs to fight the resistant strains the side effects would only get worse. Preventing ‘Superbugs’
To prevent more resistant types of bacteria being made antibiotics need to stop being misused such as when someone is on a course of antibiotics and they start to feel better and then stop the course without killing all the bacteria, missing doses and drinking alcohol also make the antibiotics less effective and give the bacteria a chance to become resistant. Some kinds of animals are given needless antibiotics and are then killed for food and by ingesting the food someone could end up getting a resistant strain to that antibiotic so you should always check the label says ‘antibiotic free’.
People properly washing their hands can also prevent the spread of bacteria, especially in hospitals where people have weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to a disease. Just by keeping themselves healthy and not missing vaccination dates or going to a doctor when they’re sick someone can help stop the spread of ‘superbugs’ because by keeping their immune system healthy a person can fight off the resistant forms of bacteria.
Cite this Microscopic Organisms – Bacteria
Microscopic Organisms – Bacteria. (2016, Oct 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/microscopic-organisms-bacteria/