Antibiotic Resistance

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability to effectively control or kill bacterial growth. Dr. Edward Hill explains more about antibiotic resistance in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Because antibiotics are often used unnecessarily or incorrectly, microorganisms have been able to adapt and survive. This is called antibiotic resistance. One way this happens is genetic mutations.

As more microorganisms become resistant, commonly used antimicrobials become ineffective against the diseases these microorganisms cause. In turn, the microorganisms become more capable of producing serious illness. Patients may need to be hospitalized to treat infections once considered simple to treat because stronger antibiotics are required or because these diseases are now associated with severe complications.

One example of this is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a strain of bacteria no longer sensitive to different forms of penicillin. It can cause complicated skin infections and pneumonia and requires stronger antibiotics for treatment.

Antibiotics should not be used without a proven bacterial infection. When needed, antibiotics need to be used with medical guidance. Once a course of antibiotics is started for an infection, the entire course should be finished unless there are significant side effects.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.