Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Now in Every Region of the World, WHO Says

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In a first-of-its-kind report, World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that bacterial infections that can’t be treated with the antibiotics of last resort have emerged in every part of the world, which means that patients who pick up E. coli, pneumonia or staph infections don’t have an effective way to control their illnesses. In some countries, more than half of people infected with K. pneumonia bacteria won’t respond to carbapenems. A similar percentage of patients with E. coli infections won’t be helped by taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

In a first-of-its-kind report, World Health Organization (WHO)announced today that bacterial infections that can’t be treated with the antibiotics of last resort have emerged in every part of the world, which means that patients who pick up E. coli, pneumonia or staph infections don’t have an effective way to control their illnesses. In some countries, more than half of people infected with K. pneumoniabacteria won’t respond to carbapenems. A similar percentage of patients with E. coli infections won’t be helped by taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

The growth of drug-resistant strains of bacteria means infections are either harder or impossible to control, which could lead to quicker spread of diseases and higher death rates, especially among hospital patients. But even more concerning, say experts like Dr. Martin Blaser, director of the human microbiome program at the New York University Langone Medical Center and author of Missing Microbes, is how these antibiotics are affecting the makeup of both good and bad bacteria that live within us – our microbiome. “The first big cost of antibiotics is resistance,” he says. “But the other side of the coin is [the fact that] antibiotics are extinguishing our microbiome and changing human development.”

By that, Blaser is referring to growing research that shows that the trillions of bacteria that live in and on our bodies play a critical role in our health. Bacteria and microbes aren’t always enemies of a healthy body, but can be allies as well, helping us to digest food, fight off disease-causing bugs, and more. Early studies suggest that different communities of bacteria in the gut, for example, may affect our risk of obesity and of developing certain cancers. Other intriguing work hints that babies born vaginally and are exposed to their mother’s reproductive tract flora, may develop different immune systems that better prepare them to combat allergens compared to those who areborn via Cesarean section. But overuse of antibiotics is slowing wiping out the good bacteria with the bad, and that may have serious consequences for public health years from now, warns Blaser.

Written By: Alice Park
continue to source article at time.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. How’s progress doing into Quórum Sensor Inhibitors? I heard a breathlessly exciting BBC Radio 4 Frontiers programme about QSIs. Apparently they impede bacteria from either sending or recognising “I’m here, contact me” messages from other bacteria of their ilk and thus, feeling themselves outnumbered by whatever defence mechanism is in place, they don’t proceed to developing pathogenic status.

    The gist of the programme was one of optimism, that these breakthroughs into Quórum Sensing (many were detailed) would make our worries about useess antibiotics quite redundant.

    • In reply to #1 by 4as4is4:

      There are several quorum sensing pathways elucidated but it’s not quite so simple unfortunately. Different bacteria use different pathways, which respond to both host and other microbial signals. In some, using QSI encourages the bacteria to form biofilms which make them harder to kill even if they don’t multiply as much. Also the signalling affects the host and other friendly bacteria around – it’s uncertain whether messing with this will be good or bad things in the end, same as with antibiotics. Shutting off of quorum sensing is even implicated in being a first step in certain kinds of antibiotic resistance.

      It’s not all doom and gloom and it certainly promises much but may be a while before it’s ready for trials. Meanwhile we still need to up our collective game concerning infection prevention i.e. clean water for all, vaccines, hand washing, surveillance and careful use of current antibiotics.

  2. As avid readers of this site might have noticed I’m not a scientist. I have read off and on about treating bacterial infections with a cocktail of viruses. Several advantages are claimed, including zero side effects, inability of the bacteria to develop immunity, and the possibility of producing tailor made bacterium-specific viruses quickly.

    After penicillin, research into viral remedies ceased in the west, but continued in the Soviet Union, where it was extensively used in World War 11 to treat wounded soldiers. Now, dubiously enough, the method is only used in the Republic of Georgia. I have also heard that with the addition of computerised data bases and the Net, research could progress very rapidly, matching bacteria to their viral nemises. Is it all bunkum, or are there possibilities that viral remedies might be able to replace antibiotics?

    • In reply to #3 by eejit:

      As avid readers of this site might have noticed I’m not a scientist. I have read off and on about treating bacterial infections with a cocktail of viruses.

      Doesn’t anyone know anything about this?

      • In reply to #4 by eejit:

        In reply to #3 by eejit:

        As avid readers of this site might have noticed I’m not a scientist. I have read off and on about treating bacterial infections with a cocktail of viruses.

        Doesn’t anyone know anything about this?

        There were an earlier discussions on the battle between bacteria and viruses here: -

        http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/3/2/the-virus-that-learns#

        Bacteria-chomping phages could kill off HOSPITAL SUPERBUGS – http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/10/21/bacteriophage-leicester-ampliphi/#c-1995710

        UK research into nature’s bacteria-munching bacteriophages is to be commercialised by American biopharma company AmpliPhi. Leicester University signed an exclusive license this week with AmpliPhi, which will fund further work on combatting antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” using phage treatments.

        • In reply to #5 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #4 by eejit:

          In reply to #3 by eejit:

          As avid readers of this site might have noticed I’m not a scientist. I have read off and on about treating bacterial infections with a cocktail of viruses.

          Doesn’t anyone know anything about this?

          There were an earlier discussions on the battle…
          Thanks Alan.

      • I have just attended a conference in Sheffield where this very topic was discussed, ie. resistance to antibiotics and harnessing of bacteriophages in treatments of wounds etc. instead. I recommend the links that Alan gives, they should tell you all the important stuff about phages. The new technologies of harnessing bacteriophages are beginning to take off in a big way, however more funds for research would speed the process just at the time when alternatives to antibiotics are so badly needed.

        reply to #4 by eejit:*

        In reply to #3 by eejit:

        As avid readers of this site might have noticed I’m not a scientist. I have read off and on about treating bacterial infections with a cocktail of viruses.

        Doesn’t anyone know anything about this?

        • In reply to #8 by HenMie:
          I recommend the links that Alan gives, they should tell you all the important stuff about phages. The new techno…

          I followed up the links which Alan kindly sent. The complexity of the defence mechanisms of bacteria and viruses is staggering. Thankfully science seems to be capable of unravelling them, lets hope that brilliant people can develop the technologies required to harness them, and that they can be kept away from the weapons industry, and that monopolisation by big pharmas can be controlled.

  3. Not very surprising, since this was expected a long time ago. Unless we keep evolving our antibiotics (which takes longer than it takes for a bacteria to develop resistance against it), quickly, we canot beat evolution in bacteria to keep up with environmental stress. Bacteria have very short generation times of minutes to hours, and hence can easily selectively grow out and evolve. What we are seeing is the perfect example of evolution and natural selection i there was any, if creationists want to take a look at it, though a tragic way o proving it. This also suggests that vaccinations in future may turn out to be the only effective way of defending the human race against microbial invaders. Otherwise, “God” help us…

  4. The first step in pushing back, public health experts say, is to reduce our over-prescription of antibiotics for minor infections that don’t necessarily require them, and that applies to both people and food-producing animals such as poultry and livestock. Animals can harbor and pass on drug-resistant bacteria as well as people can, and expanded use of antibiotics in agriculture in recent years has contributed to the growth of more aggressive bugs.

    In recent decades, farmed animals are being cruelly crammed into tighter and tighter space to save money for meat producers. Since this cause the rate of disease in the animals to go up, more antibiotics are pumped into the the animal’s bodies. This is really the main cause of this problem.

    The rational response, in as far as livestock animals are concerned, is to join the growing world-wide movement to veganism. It’s healthier for humans, better for the environment and the clear moral choice for animal welfare.

  5. I know people who fake bacterial infections when they have a virus. They do this to seem as if they are taking control of a situation so that they can continue coming to work and not feel guilty spreading their illness around. “Oh, I’m OK. I’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours.”

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