What is antibiotic resistance? Antibiotic resistance means that certain bacteria can develop resistance to specific antibiotics. The result may be that the treatment is not effective when a patient needs to be treated against an infection. In the vast majority of cases, infections with resistant bacteria can be treated with other types of antibiotics.
Normally, resistant bacteria do not involve a higher risk of becoming ill than other bacteria. For example, the risk of falling ill if you have a staphylococcus that is not resistant to methicillin is the same as if it was a resistant bacteria (MRSA).
Possible treatment of infections with resistant bacteria
Infections with resistant bacteria can in the vast majority of cases be treated with other types of antibiotics, but abroad, in particular in the Middle East, bacteria have now been found that are resistant to almost all types of antibiotics.
In Denmark, it is especially important to avoid resistance to fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins since these are first-line agents for treatment of a number of life-threatening infections such as blood poisoning (bacteraemia). If the bacterium is resistant, this will be discovered through cultivation and the treatment can be corrected but the result is a delay in the correct treatment which may have potentially fatal consequences.
What can be done in order to avoid antibiotic resistance?
The most important aspect in avoiding the development of resistance is to reduce the use of antibiotics. And here the priority is to avoid the use of the critically important types of antibiotics fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins. These are therefore subject to strict limitations in Danish agriculture.
How isantibiotic resistance developed?
A general use of antibiotics may contribute to promoting resistance to critically important antibiotics due to so-called cross resistance and co-selection. Certain resistance mechanisms function contrary to several types of antibiotics, cross resistance. Co-selection is when a bacterium is resistant to several types of antibiotics. The treatment with one of these types of antibiotics implies that also other types of resistance become more common as it is the same bacterium.
In Denmark, resistance to critically important antibiotics in both animals and humans is low compared to the occurrence of resistance abroad.
Read more about antibiotic resistance:
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)