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Antibiotic Resistance

December 6, 1990 | KAREN KLINGER, United Press International SCIENCE WRITER
In a recent study, researchers in Seattle found antibiotics highly effective in preventing persistent urinary tract infections in all but two young women they studied. Laboratory tests uncovered the apparent reason for the two exceptions. Both women harbored infection-causing bacteria in their systems that were resistant to antibiotics, making the drugs unable to kill the bacteria.
January 9, 2012 | By Jill U. Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Only 20% of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to people who are sick with bacterial infections, such as ear and urinary tract infections and pneumonia. Most of the penicillin, tetracycline and other antibiotic drugs used in this country are given to livestock that are perfectly healthy. Farmers have been putting these medicines in animal feed since the 1950s. They say the drugs help protect herds from infectious diseases and help animals grow faster. But for at least 40 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been concerned that the widespread practice may be fueling the growth of human pathogens that are no longer vulnerable to doctors' front-line drugs.
August 5, 1997 | From Associated Press
Researchers have found a way to turn off the genes that make bacteria resistant to antibiotic drugs, a discovery that could help head off a major medical crisis in the treatment of infections. Bacteria have been growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Many infections no longer respond well to drugs that once worked against them.
May 11, 1998
There is a certain satisfaction in puncturing the arrogance of experts like W.H. Stewart, the American surgeon-general who declared in 1969 that we "can close the book on infectious diseases." But restoring some respect for the bugs that bite man is more than trendy revisionism. It's key to solving the problem of drug-resistant bacteria.
December 14, 2010 | Melissa Healy. Los Angeles Times
The U.S.-raised animals we eat consumed about 29 million pounds of antibiotics in the last year alone, according to a first-ever Food and Drug Administration accounting of antimicrobial drug use by the American livestock industry. The release of the figures -- in a little-noticed posting on the FDA's website Friday -- came in response to a 2008 law requiring the federal government to collect and disseminate antibiotic use in livestock as part of the Animal Drug User Fee Act . The Union of Concerned Scientists, which authored a 2001 report that was highly critical of the routine practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock, estimated the yearly animal consumption of antibiotics to be eight times as large as the volume of antibiotics produced for human consumption in the U.S. Mardi Mellon, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Food and Environment program, said the new report corroborates the 2001 findings of the group's report, titled "Hogging It.
A rise in a drug-resistant form of gonorrhea in California is forcing health officials to turn away from a widely used, inexpensive antibiotic treatment, further narrowing their options to fight the sexually transmitted disease. Officials say they are finding an increased number of gonorrhea infections that are resistant to the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics, which includes Cipro.
April 16, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
The new study about drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus found in meat and poultry samples certainly sounds alarming -- such bacteria can cause serious infections in humans and can even lead to death. But consumers face a relatively small direct threat from the bacteria in food, and a few simple precautions should provide short-term peace of mind. Long-term peace of mind may take longer. It does seem possible that the meat industry is contributing to antibiotic resistance in some way. The FDA was concerned enough last year to urge that the meat industry use antibiotics only when necessary.
Anthrax anxiety has spawned a massive public health experiment--one that is unplanned, uncontrolled and perhaps unstoppable. Never before have so many healthy people been given private stashes of antibiotics to use at their whim. The trouble, say medical experts, is that indiscriminate prescription of Cipro and other powerful antibiotics could prove horribly counterproductive.
September 5, 1997 | PATRICIA LIEBERMAN and MICHAEL F. JACOBSON, Patricia Lieberman is senior science policy fellow at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington; Michael F. Jacobson is executive director of the center
A report last month that a Michigan man was infected by staphylococcus bacteria resistant to the most powerful antibiotic approved for use, vancomycin, triggered only fleeting news coverage. That case and a similar one in New Jersey reported Thursday should send shudders though the medical community and the public. If those bacteria spread--as have many other pathogens resistant to antibiotics--the most deadly type of hospital-acquired infection will become untreatable.
November 4, 2001 | SHERWOOD L. GORBACH, Sherwood L. Gorbach is a professor of community health and medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine
As each day brings more news of anthrax contamination, health officials have sought to reassure an anxious public by emphasizing that antibiotics such as Cipro have proved effective against this infection. It's not surprising, given the fear level, that many Americans are stockpiling antibiotics. But while antibiotics may indeed seem like our saviors in the shadow of anthrax, widespread usage itself carries dangers that extend far beyond the current crisis.
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