Once hailed as “magic bullets,” antibiotics are now used so widely that their success is threatening their effectiveness. The natural mutability of microbes is enabling pathogens to develop bulletproof shields that make antibiotic treatments useless. Meanwhile, it has become increasingly difficult to replace failing treatments with newer, more powerful antibiotics. If we fail to address resistance, we may lose control of infectious diseases, reverting back to the dangerous era before penicillin.
Fortunately, new ideas and principles have emerged for slowing the development of antibiotic resistance, both in individual patients and in the human population as a whole. Antibiotic Resistance introduces these crucial ideas to everyone who makes decisions about antibiotic use: doctors, medical providers, and healthcare administrators; public health professionals and government regulators; farmers and agricultural providers; and especially, individual patients.
Antibiotic Resistancebrings together current and authoritative answers to key questions such as:
What is resistance, and how does it emerge? How do resistance genes move between pathogens, and how are they transmitted? How do common human activities promote antibiotic resistance? How can we lengthen the effective life span of antibiotic treatments? How do we balance risks to individual patients against risks to the human species? What do physicians and pharmaceutical companies need to know about setting antibiotic dosages? What simple steps can hospitals and other institutions take to prevent the emergence and spread of dangerous pathogens, such as MRSA? How can surveillance be used more effectively as the first line of defense against resistance? How can we rationalize and accelerate the discovery of new antibiotics? What unique resistance challenges are associated with viral influenza, seasonal flu, avian flu, and human flu pandemics?
Simple examples and clear experimental descriptions make this book easily understandable to anyone familiar with biology–and a complete glossary and introductory appendixes make it accessible even to those who aren’t.