Impacts of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria



The impact of antibiotic resistant bacteria continues to increase. The full text of a Congressional report on this topic is available online. Antibiotics should be used for emergencies and not routine treatment. In the future, those who want to survive will use electromagnetic devices to control infection.

U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Impacts of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, OTA-H-629 (Washington, DC: U.S.

Government Printing Office, September 1995).

“Penicillin, the first antibiotic, and the more than 100 other antibiotics now available to physicians are the primary weapons in mankind’s battle against bacterial diseases. They revolutionized medicine, providing cures for formerly life-threatening diseases and preventing many previously inevitable deaths from

infected wounds. They still do, but within a short time of each antibiotic’s introduction into medicine, some bacteria became resistant to it, and the antibiotic lost its effectiveness against some diseases. Currently, few bacteria are resistant to all antibiotics, but many more are resistant to all but one or all but a few antibiotics, and the expectation is that resistant bacteria will continue to emerge and spread. The fear is that many bacteria will become resistant to all antibiotics, plunging humanity back into the conditions that existed in the pre-antibiotic age.

“OTA’s report discusses what is known about the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and describes research and development aimed at controlling those organisms. It concludes that efforts are necessary both to preserve the effectiveness of currently available antibiotics and to develop new antibiotics. It discusses issues that arise in these activities, and it presents options for taking action.

“This report was requested by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in the 103d Congress (now the House Committee on Commerce).

The Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources in the same Congress endorsed the request for the study.”

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