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Superbugs Essay

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Superbugs:
Overcoming the Resistance

Bio 1M03 PBL Project
March 11, 2014

This report has been edited and approved by all contributing group members before submission.

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics has presented many problems in our society, including an increased chance of fatality due to infections that could have otherwise been treated with success. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, but overexposure to these drugs give the bacteria more opportunities to mutate, forming resistant strains. Through natural selection, those few mutated bacteria are able to survive treatments of antibiotics and then pass on their genes to other bacterial cells through lateral gene transfer (Zhaxybayeva, 2011). Once resistance builds in one patient, it is possible for the strain to be transmitted to others through improper hygiene and failure to isolate patients in hospitals.
Resistance arises from mutations that are not under the control of humans, but the evolution of bacteria has been sped along by the overexposure of antibiotics to both people and animals. The number of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria in an area is closely related to the frequency that antibiotics that are prescribed (Todar, 2012). Patients often unnecessarily demand antibiotics to treat common colds or simple illnesses that are not caused by bacteria. Instead, these infections are caused by viruses which, unlike bacteria, are unaffected by antibiotics. Incorrect diagnosis can also lead patients to using unnecessary antibiotics, which can sometimes be even more dangerous than otherwise left untreated. Besides the fact that antibiotics kill off beneficial bacteria in the intestines, misuse of antibiotics provides an opportunity ...

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... antibiotic resistance has quickly become an increasing concern in recent times due to the growing use of antibiotics. To combat this problem, we propose that healthy intestinal floras be maintained after antibiotic resistance using fecal bacteriotherapy, and that processes of lateral gene transfer be disrupted before antibiotic resistance through the use of copper surfaces and after antibiotic resistance through synthesized CSPs. Continuing research in these solutions as well as implementing these strategies into mainstream medicine will certainly reduce the frequency of antibiotic resistance along with incidences of serious disease outbreaks in hospitals. With a better understanding of the causes of antibiotic resistance and the role that patients and doctors play in these causes, it is time to move forward and attempt to eradicate this problem once and for all.
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