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Alysha Burns

Paige Dickins

Britney Ouderkirk

Mr. Gross

English 12 B (3)

14 May 2017

Antibiotic Resistance

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria

that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these

infections (Antibiotic/Antimicrobial). This is why doctors should only prescribe antibiotics if

they are absolutely necessary. Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability

to effectively control or kill bacterial growth; in other words, the bacteria are "resistant" and

continue to multiply in the presence of therapeutic levels of an antibiotic (Antibiotic Resistance -

What). It is a progressively growing issue in not only the United States, but also in other

countries around the world impacting people of all ages. It leads to longer hospital stays, higher

medical costs, and increased mortality. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to

global health, food security, and development today (Antibiotic Resistance).

Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world,

impacting people of all ages. New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally,

threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. A growing list of infections such as

pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhoea are becoming harder, and sometimes

impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective (Antibiotic Resistance). The World

Health Organizations
(WHO) first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public

health with data from 114 countries (Antibiotic Resistance). Without urgent, coordinated action

by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections

and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill, says Dr Keiji

Fukuda, WHOs Assistant Director-General for Health Security (Antibiotic Resistance). If

antibiotics continue to be used when not necessary, we may not have the privilege of being able

to get rid of sickness quick and easy when they truly are needed which is why it is so important

that this issue gets resolved.

Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs, and increased

mortality. The Institute of Medicine estimates the annual cost of infections caused by antibiotic-

resistant bacteria to be U.S.$4 to $5 billion (McGowan). Over 50% of healthcare-associated

infections (HAIs) are caused by resistant strains. The trends of increasing resistance are most

critical in intensive care unit (ICU) patients, a population extremely susceptible to HAIs which is

what leads to the lengthy hospital stays and the higher medical costs. HAIs caused by

antibiotic-resistant gram-negative pathogens were associated with significantly higher total

hospital costs and increased length of stay compared to those caused by their susceptible

counterparts. In the United States, approximately 2 million people per year acquire a bacterial

infection while they are in the hospital. Of these, 50 to 70% are caused by antimicrobial-resistant

strains of bacteria and 77,000 to 90,000 infected patients die (Mauldin12).

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and

development today. Increasingly, bacteria and other microorganisms are developing resistance to

the antibiotics used to kill them, both imperiling health and adding to health care costs as doctors

try different medicines, according to a news release. Studies show antibiotic resistance adds as
much as $20 billion per year in excess direct healthcare costs (Coutre). The Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified a number of bacteria as presenting urgent, serious,

and concerning threats, many of which are already responsible for placing a substantial clinical

and financial burden on the U.S. health care system, patients, and their families (Ventola).

Antibiotics are called "societal drugs," since antibiotic resistance can pass from bacterium to

bacterium, and resistant bacterial infections can pass from person to person. Thus, antibiotic use

and antibiotic resistance can eventually affect an entire community. When antibiotics are used in

humans or animals, approximately 80 - 90% of the ingested antibiotics are not broken down, but

pass through the body intact and enter the environment as waste. Thus, they retain their ability to

affect bacteria and promote antibiotic resistance even after they enter the soil or water as a waste

product (General). Antibiotic resistance is having impact on not only humans, but also the

environment which is putting us all in danger.

Although antibiotics should only be used if absolutely necessary, some people believe

that antibiotics are to be utilized whenever they are needed. Because antibiotics are seen as an

efficient way for individuals to recover quickly from sickness, doctors are often times convinced

by their patients to prescribe medication when it is not required. Many people continue to cling

to the notion of why not take something if theres even a chance that it will make me better?,

when in reality there are big risks, says Jason G. Newland, MD, medical director in charge of

patient safety at Childrens Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Risks that can land you in

the hospital (Pros & Cons). However, having this mindset can be very detrimental to a

person, as the overuse of antibiotics will eventually lead to the body resisting it and could even

cause harmful effects or death. Prescribing antibiotics is leading to longer hospital stays, higher

medical costs, increased mortality, and it is having impact on countries all around the world.
Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as well as

poor infection prevention and control. Steps can be taken at all levels of society to reduce the

impact and limit the spread of resistance (Antibiotic Resistance). The World Health Organization

(WHO) has become quite concerned about the rising levels of resistant bacteria in all areas of the

world. To provide some global coordination, WHO issued its Global Strategy for Containment

of Antimicrobial Resistance, a document aimed at policy-makers that urges governments to take

action to help contain antibiotic resistance. The epidemic of resistant bacteria has spurred

renewed interest in finding novel antibiotics. The process of producing a new antibiotic,

however, is long and expensive, requiring approximately ten years and $300 million to bring a

new antibiotic to market. One approach taken by scientists to combat antibiotic resistance is to

strengthen the action of existing antibiotics by modifying them so the bacterial enzymes that

cause resistance cannot attack them. An alternative approach to the antibiotic resistance problem

is to interfere with the mechanisms that promote resistance, rather than to attempt to kill the

bacteria. For example, interfering with the duplication or movement of a bacterium's genetic

material would eliminate the transfer of resistance genes between bacteria (General). By

actively finding new approaches to this issue, it shows that we are working towards a more

progressive future in antibiotics, underlining that this is a very real problem that needs to be


Overprescribing antibiotics is a huge problem that is having negative effects on not only

the United States, but countries all over the world. It is threatening global health while

prolonging hospital stays, resulting in higher medical costs. Food security and mortality are also

being jeopardized due to mistreatment of antibiotics. It is something that could make treatment
for common illness and minor injuries much more complicated than a short trip to the doctors,

and immediate action is vital to prevent this.