Superbugs

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‘Superbugs’

Bacteria

Bacteria are living organisms that can help the body and also cause infectious diseases. They are microscopic organisms and the largest is only 10 micrometres long (the same size as the world’s smallest guitar) the only living thing smaller than them is viruses. They can come in lots of different shapes and sizes. They grow and multiply every 20 minutes and are the same as the bacteria they came from, however they can sometimes mutate to adapt to their surroundings

One such mutation is if they are exposed to too much antibiotics they could become resistant to the antivbiotic. Bacteria can mutate to become resistant in several ways. One is to deactivate the antibiotic before it reaches the inside of the bacterial cell, another is to pump the antibiotic out of the cell, yet another is to alter the protein on the bacterial cell so the antibiotic doesn’t recognise the cell and finally they can produce enzymes to destroy the antibiotic.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are a type of medicine that is essentially a selective poison because it kills bacteria and doesn’t damage the body’s cells. However, they are ineffective against viruses because viruses reproduced inside host cells and it is very difficult to get rid of them without damaging the host cells. Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin which was the first antibiotic.

According to some research around 1.6 million antibiotics that were prescribed last year weren’t needed by the patient, for example if someone has a bad cold, antibiotics wouldn’t help as colds are viruses and antibiotics have no effect on them. The reason doctors prescribe them anyway is that over demanding patients pressure the doctor into giving out antibiotics they don’t really need. This could lead to the patient getting a resistant strain of bacteria and then passing them on to others around them.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a mutation of bacteria where it becomes resistant to...
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