Question Mary Health

Prevention of antibiotic resistance

What is antibiotic resistance and how can it be prevented?

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Answer Internal Staff

Antibiotic resistance (ABR) occurs when a bacterium evolves to develop immunity to the antibiotics designed to destroy it. This can occur in one of three ways; 'natural or innate resistance', which occurs in bacteria as a result of the functional and structural characteristics of the species, as the result of a 'genetic mutation', through mutation of normal cellular genes, the acquisition of foreign resistance genes, or through a combination of the two forms, or through 'acquired' resistance, gained from another species of bacteria which are already immune to the antibiotic. Through these means, and the use of antibiotics, resistant strains of the bacteria causing infection become more prevalent as those which have not gained immunity are killed off leaving only the strains resistant to the antibiotic to thrive. Antibiotic resistance is a global healthcare concern, as it could lead to major problems treating even the most basic of infections. In order to prevent antibiotic resistance, it is important that all healthcare practitioners prescribe antibiotics with caution and only when absolutely necessary.