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Herbicides Can Induce Antibiotic Resistance

Credit: luckybusiness/Adobe

Credit: luckybusiness/Adobe

By Brigitta Kurenbach & Jack Heinemann

The overuse of antibiotics has led to a dramatic rise in the number of untreatable infections. To make matters worse, other chemicals like weed-killers can reduce the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In many parts of the world, treatable bacterial diseases are becoming untreatable because they are resistant to many of the antibiotics we used to take. The most prominent example for this is tuberculosis, for which drug-resistant varieties have been confirmed and are spreading.

This is not a problem restricted to developing countries with inadequate medical capacities. Infections with antibiotic-resistant organisms forming the so-called ESKAPE group (named after the members Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii,

Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter spp.) are increasing in hospitals around the world. If patients become infected, treatments take longer, are more expensive, may require the use of drugs that are more toxic to humans, or in the worst cases fail altogether.

The outlook isn’t good. We are heading towards a post-antibiotic future where infections from a small cut can be deadly or where routine surgery may be deemed too risky because the probability of infections with one of these multi-resistant pathogens is high.

The rise of antibiotic resistance is mainly attributed to the widespread use – and misuse – of antibiotics. When bacteria encounter antibiotics, those that carry rare mutations that make them more tolerant are able to reproduce, while susceptible ones die. Over time...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.