Medical experts have been worrying about antibiotics resistance for years. Many professional bodies and individuals have warned about bacterial strains becoming resistant to antibiotics. Now they’re growing even more worried. New research is beginning to reveal just how dangerous the situation is. A recent study showed that E. coli bacteria in China has developed resistance to colistin. This antibiotic is usually used as a last resort.
The resistance is due to a gene called MCR-1. The researchers tested for it in both animals in abattoirs and raw meat in stores. It was found in E. coli in 21% of animals and 15% of raw meat samples. It was also discovered that 1% of hospital inpatients in China also carried E. coli with the gene.
There are several reasons for this growing resistance to antibiotics. One of them is doctors having over prescribed antibiotics to their patients. Many people are quick to visit a doctor for medication. But they may be able to wait a few days to see if they get better on their own. Another problem is people failing to take antibiotics as prescribed. People often stop taking the course they are given when they feel better. This can allow the bacteria to adapt. The proper thing to do is finish the full course every time. You should also never share antibiotics with other people.
Another reason that for the growing antibiotics resistance problem is antibiotics in our food. They are used to treat livestock to ensure their products, such as meat, eggs and milk, are safe to eat. However, this can lead to small traces of antibiotics remaining in the food. It can contribute toward bacteria growing resistant to antibiotics. In the EU, there are regulations that farmers need to follow to sell their products. Click here to see an example of one of the tests used to check levels of antibiotic presence in milk. The Secretary General of the European animal health industry association has asked for everyone to help with the fight.
There are things that you can do if you want to help stop bacteria growing resistant to antibiotics. You don’t need to work in the food industry or for the government. If you want to contribute, start by waiting five days before seeing your doctor about a cough, cold or mild flu. You should also take antibiotics as prescribed, and ensure any unused antibiotics are safely disposed of. Having a flu vaccination can also help. They’re recommended for several groups of people, including the elderly and pregnant women.
Some experts also suggest that you can buy organic food or anything that says it is raised without antibiotics. However, if something is labelled as organic, it doesn’t guarantee it won’t be resistant to antibiotics. Cooking your food thoroughly is also an important thing to do to kill off bacteria.
Although antibiotic resistance is worrying, we can still try to do something about it. If you want to help, you can do some more research on how to do your part.