2014 | Month:December | Volume:1 | Issue:2 | Page:59-69

Antibiotic Resistance in Non-humans and its Impact on Human Health

<p>Antimicrobial drugs are magic bullets which are used in humans, animals and plants to treat and prevent bacterial infections. The inevitable side effects of the use of antibiotics are the emergence and dissemination of resistant bacteria. Their level of resistance is considered to be a good indicator for selection pressure by antibiotic use and for resistance problems to be expected in pathogens. At least twelve classes of antimicrobials namely arsenicals, polypeptides, glycolipids, tetracyclines, elfamycins, macrolides, lincosamides, polyethers, beta-lactams, quinoxalines, streptogramins, and sulfonamides have been used in veterinary practice. The effect of this selection pressure has been the appearance of numerous resistant strains of <em>Escherichia coli</em>, <em>Salmonella species</em>, <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em>, <em>Pasteurella hemolytica,</em> <em>Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae</em>, <em>Clostridium perfringens</em> and many other bacterial species. Bacteria also acquire genes conferring resistance by a variety of mechanisms including acquisition of extrachromosomal plasmids that replicate apart from the chromosomal DNA. Damage caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria is a kind of pollution. The precise effect of agricultural antibiotic use on resistance levels in the general population is not known, but the evidence points to a link. Considerable attention has been focussed on a very small minority of bacteria that cause disease but a vast sea of commensal and environmental bacteria continuously and promiscuously exchange genes totally unnoticed.</p>\n<p>Immediate action has to be taken to prevent the antibiotic resistance in bacteria by judicious and rational use of antibiotics, effective hospital infection control programs and research for the development of new antibiotics or by combination therapy.</p>

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