Drug-resistant microbes pose a new threat to our society. Infectious diseases that were prevalent in the 1930s (for example, pneumonia, meningitis, and typhoid), which practically disappeared after the usage of antibiotics, are slowly returning.
As more and more microbes become resistant to antibiotics, more and more people are being exposed to new strains of bacteria and viruses. (These can be transmitted through casual contact in movie theatres, hospitals and shopping centres.) These are hardier, and cannot be killed by the common antibiotic.
In research laboratories, scientists will need to study these deadly bugs to find ways to design better drugs "rationally" that will disarm them longer.
In hospitals and clinics, doctors will have to learn to prescribe anti-microbials more selectively, so as to prevent the spread of resistance from one type of bacteria to another, and also improve sanitation so they will not spread resistant strains from patient to patient.
In the community, worldwide surveillance systems should be put in place to detect new resistant strains early enough so that they can be contained before they spread.
Patients should always finish a treatment of antibiotics to be sure they wipe out all the infecting bacteria.
Patients need to stop sharing their old antibiotics with friends and family, and pressuring their doctors to prescribe antibiotics for viral infections that are invulnerable to antibiotics. The more exposure different bacteria get to different anti-microbials, the more likely they will evolve a new defense against it.
Lessons unlearned and opportunities lost have come back to haunt us. Tuberculosis, the largest cause of death from a single infectious disease, has been virtually ignored for 20 years and more. While tuberculosis remains a major problem in developing countries, cases have increased from 28% in Italy to 42% in the United States in the recent years. In addition, the emergence of drug-resistant strains has reduced the effectiveness of treatment to that of the pre-antibiotic era.
The Importance of
Contrary to the claim of microbiology, bacteria were not created in order to destroy us. Of the 200 000 species of microbes on Earth only 400 are pathogenic. Bacteria are essential to the existance of the global food chain -- without their participation in it, life on Earth is impossible.
In view of their importance to life, we should not wage a war against micro-organisms, but attempt to maintain a healthy co-existance with them. Only then may we continue to thrive as a species on this Earth.
We should be open to the Views and Predictions of scientists as well as the Man-on-the-street, for with these tools we can recognise the importance of this war we have been forced into fighting, and can arm ourselves adequetely to prepare for combat and ultimate destruction. We have therefore compiled a collection of valuable quotations which we hope you will find enriching.
contributes substantially to the mobilization of the masses to counter the effects of this war.
Here are some links to external pages which we hope will be of benefit to you:
An Introduction to Microbiology provides a few fast and comprehensive facts about microbes.
The Microbial Underground! gives you a well rounded selection of information on microbiology and medicine.
How to Diminish Microbial Resistance to Antibiotics? gives an indepth write-up on the microbial wars.
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