Although medicine and science have developed massively in the past few decades, we are still facing some global menaces at the beginning of the 21st century. The discovery of vaccines played an essential role in modern medicine, helping eradicate various diseases that were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people all over the globe.
Unfortunately, once the most powerful weapon against bacteria and germs, antibiotics started to lose their efficiency as new generations of bacteria suffered mutations. So why is antimicrobial resistance dangerous? Here is everything you need to know about the topic.
What are microbes?
There are billions of microbes existent in the world, but most of them are harmless to people. The human immune system can efficiently fight against these microbes so that we don’t end up sick after simply getting in contact with another person or elements in the environment.
However, types of microbes like fungi, parasites, viruses or bacteria are potentially dangerous to people and can cause serious health problems and diseases. They are called pathogens but are also referred to as bugs or germs.
How can we fight microbes?
Certain pathogens can simply be destroyed with the help of good personal hygiene and some common sense rules of eating. Drinking water only from uninfested sources and washing our hands with soap or gel on a regular basis are usually enough to get rid of various microbes.
Unfortunately, other groups of microbes are more dangerous to humans and can only be eradicated with medicines and antibiotics. These are usually prescribed by the doctor and are only taken under the strict surveillance of a physician for a determined period, generally lasting between three and ten days.
What causes antimicrobial resistance?
Microbes represent living organisms with their own DNA. Similar to humans, plants, and other animals, microbes also have the ability to evolve in order to adapt to new environmental and climate conditions. Thus, what seemed to be enough to kill bacteria a few decades ago may not have the same effect today.
Antibiotics can fight against bacteria, but traces of them remain in our bodies, leading to genetic mutations in time. It is said that the body has a memory of its own and can automatically adjust in order to survive. So, what used to kills us or make us sick a century ago will no longer have the same effect on our bodies today.
Unfortunately, since we have been extensively using antibiotics in the past decades, microbes became immune to them and evolved into more resistant strains. This led to dangerous mutations that no longer respond to the treatments we were used to so humanity is facing yet again the threats of the environment.