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Antibiotic resistance

Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming. People began using it to treat infections in 1942. Penicillin antibiotics were among the first medications to be effective against many bacterial infections caused by staphylococci and streptococci. Penicillin is still widely used today, though many types of bacteria have developed resistance following extensive use.

Antibiotic resistance refers specifically to the resistance to antibiotics that occurs in common bacteria that cause infections. There are high portions of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause common infections (e.g. urinal tract infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections) in all regions of the world. Resistance to one of the most widely used antibacterial drugs for the oral treatment of urinary tract infections caused by E. coli –fluoroquinolones – is very widespread.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that all types of microbes, including many viruses and parasites, are becoming resistant. This is happening in all parts of the world, so all countries must do their part to tackle this global threat by setting up comprehensive strategies to “prevent the misuse of antibiotics and reduce spread of antimicrobial resistance”, the WHO report said. Non-prescription over-the-counter sales of antimicrobial drugs are common, increasing the risk for overuse and abuse by the public and by unscrupulous doctors.

With a survey of public awareness, WHO said 64 percent of those asked believed wrongly that penicillin-based drugs and other antibiotics can treat colds and flu, despite the fact such medicines have no impact on viruses. Around a third of people surveyed also wrongly believed they should stop taking antibiotics when they feel better, rather than completing the prescribed treatment course. The findings point to the urgent need to improve understanding around antibiotic resistance, and require global behavior change by individuals and societies, WHO said.

(To be continued) (Floro Mercene)