Antibiotic Resistance - Questions & Answers
What are bacteria?
Bacteria are single-celled organisms found all over the inside and outside of our bodies. Many bacteria are not harmful. In fact, some are actually helpful, including the majority of bacteria that live in our intestines (guts). However, disease-causing bacteria can cause illnesses such as strep throat.
What are viruses?
Viruses are microbes that are even smaller than bacteria that cannot survive outside the body’s cells. They cause illness by invading healthy cells.
Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?
Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Every time a person takes antibiotics, bacteria that antibiotics can still attack are killed, but resistant bacteria are left to grow and multiply. This is how repeated use of antibiotics can increase the number of drug-resistant bacteria.
What can be done to slow antibiotic resistance?
Lowering incorrect and unnecessary antibiotic use will help slow down the spread of resistant bacteria. Ongoing efforts in human and veterinary medicine are needed to lower the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, so that the value of antibiotics is maintained for as long as possible.