Epidemiological Crisis: Reform Needed to Stop the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance
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Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in the United States and around the world resulting in the reemergence of communicable disease as a serious public health crisis. The number of patients infected with resistant strains of bacteria including Streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococci, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella has steadily increased in resent decades with no signs of stopping (Cassell and Mekalanos, 2001; Buhner,1999; Shnayerson and Plotkin, 2002). In order to fight the growing number of infections, researchers have turned to synthetic chemistry, plant and fungal remedies, and animal peptides hoping to find new antibiotics that will not succumb to the many resistance mechanisms possessed by the microorganisms. While each field offers possible new treatments, many have proven to be far from perfect solutions. In addition to continuing research into new medicines, many medical, agricultural, and layperson practices need to be reformed in order to discourage the evolution and spread of resistant bacteria. Without continuing advancements in antibiotic research and worldwide elimination of practices that promote the growth of resistant bacteria, the future does not look bright for the health of mankind. It is of utmost importance that funding and research are encouraged and action is taken to keep scientific advancement in the field of antibiotics ahead of the evolution of resistant bacteria.