Audrey Schuetz, M.D., Discusses Antibiotic Resistance
A recent article from ZocDoc cited that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 2 million people develop bacterial infections that are resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics. Of those people, 23,000 die from their infections or resulting complications. Further, the result is an increasingly stubborn wave of illnesses and bacterial strains, including gonorrhea, pneumonia, blood infections, and food-borne germs (E. coli), that no longer respond to conventional treatment with antibiotic drugs in the bactericidal penicillin and cephalosporin families.
According to Audrey Schuetz, M.D., Senior Associate Consultant in the Division of Clinical Microbiology in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, while "overprescribing" plays a large and undeniable role in antibiotic resistance, it doesn't deserve all the blame. “The human body is a very complicated system. Patient disease symptoms can be nonspecific, and it can sometimes be difficult for doctors to know whether a disease is due to bacteria or not. Doctors may not know because of limitations in diagnostic tests currently available, or the patient may have several issues going on at once, which confuses the picture.”
If an infection develops that doesn’t respond to conventional treatment with antibiotics, physicians can try a number of other therapies.“There are newer antibiotics on the market that have activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria,” Dr. Schuetz says. “Some antibiotics are in development, and some are currently available. However, there is a concerning trend right now towards fewer antibiotics being developed to fight these superbugs.”