31/5/2004

Resistant Bacteria @ 1:21 pm

From a scientific point of view I’ve always found the development of resistant bacterial strains both interesting and concerning but it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that it became personal when my granddad pased away in part due to contracting a massive MRSA infection of his kidney’s whilst in hospital after having a stroke.

Now though it seems that MRSA has been taking a few more terrifying steps down evolutions path with the develpment of a highly communicable strain. Unlike standard MRSA, which is only communicable by essentially infection via breaks in skin (and as such has been confined for the most part to hospitals etc) this new strain is capable of transfer with only casual contact.

So how have we got here? there are a number of reasons mainly the overuse and missuse of antibiotics by doctors and patients, the use of antibiotics in agriculture (feed to chicken and cattle) and the widespread use of antibacterial soaps, washing powders, washing up liquid leading to a text book example of natural selection – with only the most resistant, most transferable and quickest replicating bacteria surviving.

With these new strains developing the ability to tranfer by simple contact, added to increased resistance to vancomysin, daptomycin and linezolid, the antibiotics which form our last line of our defence, this poses a very real threat to the health of millions.

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