In honor of Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, November 14-20, 2011, we are delving into the subjects of bacteria, viruses, appropriate use of antibiotics, and avoiding infection.
Bacteria and Antibiotics
Before the discovery of penicillin in 1928, bacterial infections were a major cause of death. Bacteria are single-celled organisms which can live both inside and outside of the human body, including on the surface of non-living objects. The bacteria, streptococcus pyogenes which is responsible for strep throat and some skin infections, was previously the cause of half of all post-birth deaths before penicillin (an early antimicrobial medication) came into common use. The bacteria, staphylococcus aureus, was fatal in 80 percent of infected wounds. Tuberculosis and pneumonia bacteria were also horribly dangerous.
Antimicrobial medications, or antibiotics, have saved countless lives during the past 80+ years. However, when they are not used appropriately, bacteria can become resistant to medication. An example is the frightening methicillin-resistant S. aureus bacteria, also known as MRSA. As a bacteria becomes resistant to one medication, a stronger antibiotic must be developed to attack the evolved bacteria. Improper use of antibiotics is how “super bugs” are created.
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Antibiotics, Bacteria, Infection, and Rheumatoid Arthritis