Pierce, Marcia M. Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.
Last reviewed:March 2020
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- Rise of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, published June 2016:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Identification of antibiotics
- First development of resistance
- Modern issues
- Clostridioides difficile
- Gram-negative superbugs
- Resistance mechanisms
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The capability that a bacterium acquires to counteract an inhibitory chemical molecule or compound that was formerly effective in killing it or preventing its growth. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria (Fig. 1) is a hot topic in the media and in scientific and health care settings worldwide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes antibiotic-resistant bacteria as “nightmare bacteria” that pose a catastrophic threat to people in every country in the world. It is estimated that 2 million people in the United States become infected by resistant bacteria each year. The CDC indicates that at least 23,000 people die per year as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant infections, with more individuals dying because of complications that occur as a result of these infections. The CDC classifies three types of infections as urgent threats to public health: (1) carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE); (2) drug-resistant gonorrhea; and (3) Clostridioides difficile (formerly, Clostridium difficile), which is linked to serious diarrheal illnesses associated with antibiotic use. The current status of antibiotic resistance worldwide needs to be investigated meticulously, and ways must be found to halt its progression. See also: Antibiotic; Antimicrobial agents; Bacteria; Bacteriology; Drug resistance; Infection; Medical bacteriology; Microbiology; Public health
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