posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 07:04 PM
While resistance in and of itself is an issue... the biggest and perhaps most scary thing is that the most resistant strains of bacteria are also
beginning to pick up genes for virulence also.
In the past the most resistant strains have been largely opportunistic, but virulence and antibiotic resistance are becoming increasingly found
together. It's a problem.
One nice thing is that the same mechanism that brought antibiotic resistance genes to such prevelant state is the same one that can lower the
incidence of antibiotic resistance: natural selection.
Reducing antibiotic usage to only necessary levels would go a long way to reducing the overall incidence of antibiotic resistance genes in the
environment. Of course this won't happen, as it would require people to actually wait for their immune system to deal with minor infections, etc.
Most people desire antibiotics when they aren't necessary. I routinely turn down prophylactic antibiotics when seeing the doctor for a viral disease.
The other thing that has recently been approved and is an entirely viable option is the use of bacteriophages. Phage therapy, is a viable and indeed a
better option for humans than is antibiotic therapy. It's not as general though, and may require some level of sophistication currently beyond the
capabilities of clinical labs before being able to come to fruition.