From The Rx Patient Connection
Q: What is antibiotic resistance – and should I be worried about it?
A: Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to withstand the effects of an antibiotic. At first, most of the bacteria causing an infection may be susceptible to the antibiotic; only a few may be resistant. When an antibiotic is taken, the susceptible bacteria – including many “good” bacteria that help protect against infection – are killed, allowing the resistant ones to grow and multiply. Some bacteria can pass their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria, eventually creating “superbugs” – bacteria that are resistant to multiple drugs. Infections caused by bacteria with multiple-drug resistance can be very difficult to treat, and in some cases can lead to serious illness or even death. Some types of antibiotic-resistant infections can spread from person to person, from animals to people, or from contaminated food or water to people.
Infections caused by resistant bacteria can occur in any setting: hospitals, nursing homes, schools, workplaces, and in your own home. Each year, at least 2 million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the US, and more than 23,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant infections.