Over 100 Million Doses Of Antibiotics Are Administered Every Year

More than 80 years ago, Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist, theorized that antibacterial would be found in his own nasal mucus.  During his experiment, a spore of a variant called Penicillium notatum accidentally contaminated his culture plate of Staphylococcus bacteria. This mold released a substance that inhibited the growth of the bacteria, leading to the breakthrough discovery of penicillin which triggered the beginning of a worldwide medical revolution.

Antibiotics, such as penicillin, have greatly reduced illness and death from infections. Today, 130 million doses of antibiotics are administered every year, and up to half of these have been deemed as unnecessary.  One of the main reasons for this occurs when antibiotics are prescribed for viral rather than bacterial infections. As a result, bacterium such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have “learned” to develop resistance against common antibiotics and have begun to cause severe infections that are expensive to

Protocol is crucial to the proper management of bacterial infections.  The degree of complexity in management of such infections increases when the first drug of choice is unsuccessful, spurring doctors to prescribe alternative drugs. As a result, treatments are often less effective and more expensive.  Moreover, because last line treatments such as Vancomycin are being used with greater frequency during earlier stages of infection, the cycle of antibiotic resistant mutation is hastened, making infections more dangerous and difficult-to-treat.

Antibiotic resistance has become a global health issue, and each of us has a responsibility in addressing a world of resistance.  Take some time to learn more about how bacteria can develop resistance in our four-post series here, or talk to us on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t wait for your turn, get informed today!

1. “Antibiotic Resistance.” American College of Physicians, Web. 10 June 2011.

2. “About Antimicrobial Resistance: A Brief Overview.” Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention. National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infections Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP), 22 July 2010. Web. 10 June 2011.

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