JUL 10, 2016 1:26 PM PDT

The Rise of Drug-Resistant Superbugs

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In May of 2016, doctors and scientists discovered a patient carrying bacteria resistant to antibiotics of the last resort. The patient carried an E. coli strain that was resistant to colistin, an antibiotic deemed as the "end of the road" as far as doctors' arsenal of antibiotics are concerned.

The discovery prompted fear and alarm among health officials and the public alike. Did this first case really "herald the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria?" Let's hope not.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends several precautions to stop antibiotic resistance. First, WHO specifies that antibiotics should not be prescribed unless the infection is bacterial in nature and should respond to antibiotics. Unfortunately, nearly 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed for respiratory infections may be unnecessary, as physicians can mistake viral infections for bacterial infections. Second, WHO recommends patients to take the full prescribed antibiotic dose to prevent the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Farmers in the agricultural industries are also bear the burden of preventing livestock and crops from developing and spreading drug-resistant bacteria through appropriate use of antibiotics.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 29, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 29, 2019
Anthills Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg
At first glance, an anthill looks like a small pile of sand on the Earth with a tiny hole in the top that ants crawl into to evade danger, but they’r...
JAN 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 14, 2020
How Much Do You Know About Jupiter?
Jupiter, recognized by most as the largest known planet in our solar system, is a particularly interesting place. So interesting, in fact, that NASA sent a...
JAN 17, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 17, 2020
Toxic Metals and Cardiovascular Risk
A meta-analysis was recently published in the British Medical Journal to try and understand if there was a link between heart events and exposure to toxic ...
FEB 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 09, 2020
Here's Why NASA Needs Another Space Station Orbiting the Moon
NASA already has the International Space Station at its disposal, and with that in mind, many have come to question why the American space agency plans to...
FEB 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 10, 2020
Mudskippers Aren't Like Most Fish...
Most fish spend almost all of their lives in a body of water, be it the ocean or some smaller lake or stream. Mudskippers, on the other hand, are a unique...
FEB 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 18, 2020
Will We Ever Solve the Universe's 'Dark Matter' Mystery?
If you were to take a step back from the Milky Way and attempt to observe our universe, you’d see a plethora of bright and colorful sectors made up o...
Loading Comments...