DEC 20, 2018 5:42 PM PST

Occasional Use of Antibiotics is a Bigger Problem Than Repeated Use

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens are becoming more widespread in the United States. New research reported in eLife by a team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has determined that many people who occasionally use antibiotics are having a more significant contribution to the problem than a small group of individuals who repeatedly use antibiotics.

“We know that efforts to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics are critical to addressing the problem of antibiotic resistance. We wondered whether every antibiotic prescription contributes equally to resistance, and whether, as some previous research has suggested, the most effective way to minimize antibiotic resistance would be to focus on the small fraction of people who use most of the antibiotics,” explained Yonatan Grad, Melvin J. and Geraldine L. Glimcher Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and senior author of the study. “Our results show that most antibiotic use is occasional—by people taking just one antibiotic course in a year—and that this occasional use is more closely linked with antibiotic resistance than intense, repeated use.”

Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health. Common infectious diseases like tuberculosis and gonorrhea are becoming more difficult to treat.

“Our findings suggest that combating inappropriate antibiotic use among people who don’t take many antibiotics may be just as important, or more important, to fighting resistance than focusing on high-intensity users,” added lead author Scott Olesen, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. “More antibiotic use generally means more antibiotic resistance, but it seems like the number of people taking antibiotics might matter more than the amount they’re taking.”

Source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
SEP 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Could There Be Life on Venus?
SEP 10, 2020
Could There Be Life on Venus?
Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, reaching 465 degrees Celcius- a temperature hot enough to melt lead. Wh ...
SEP 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
SEP 10, 2020
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
Snails, marine and terrestrial, are likely primarily imagined to be attached to a substrate. However, under the waves, t ...
SEP 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Turning Pulsars into Deep Space Beacons
SEP 24, 2020
Turning Pulsars into Deep Space Beacons
Navigating beyond Earth's orbit is tricky. Any misstep in movement could lead to the crushes of space probes and ves ...
OCT 22, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
NASA Looks to Nuclear Fusion for Powering Deep Space Missions
OCT 22, 2020
NASA Looks to Nuclear Fusion for Powering Deep Space Missions
Nuclear fusion is the frontier of energy research, and NASA has a plan to bring this state-of-the-art power source to th ...
FEB 10, 2021
Plants & Animals
Is the Nano-Chameleon the World's Smallest Reptile Species?
FEB 10, 2021
Is the Nano-Chameleon the World's Smallest Reptile Species?
Say “hello!” to the nano-chameleon, a top contender for the world’s smallest reptile. According to the ...
MAR 31, 2021
Plants & Animals
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
MAR 31, 2021
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
Beachgoers are certainly not fond of jellyfish in the water, but seeing hundreds of them wash ashore is an interesting a ...
Loading Comments...