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Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections

Antibiotics and similar drugs, together called antimicrobial agents, have been used for the last 70 years to treat patients who have infectious diseases. Since the 1940s, these drugs have greatly reduced illness and death from infectious diseases. Antibiotic use has been beneficial and, when prescribed and taken correctly, their value in patient care is enormous. However, these drugs have been used so widely and for so long that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective. Many fungi, viruses, and parasites have done the same. Some microorganisms may develop resistance to a single antimicrobial agent (or related class of agent), while others develop resistance to several antimicrobial agents or classes. These organisms are often referred to as multidrug-resistant or MDR strains. In some cases, the microorganisms have become so resistant that no available antibiotics are effective against them.

Trends in Drug Resistance

  • Reports of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infections—in persons with no links to healthcare systems have been observed with increasing frequency in the United States and elsewhere around the globe.
  • The agricultural use of antibiotics in food-producing animals also contributes to the emergence, persistence, and spread of resistant bacteria. Resistant bacteria can be transmitted to humans through the foods we eat.
  • Multi-drug resistant Klebsiella species and Escherichia coli have been isolated in hospitals throughout the United States.
  • Antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae infections have significantly declined, but remain a concern in some populations.

Treated with Bacteriophages

Bacteriophages can be an effective alternative to antibiotics for treatment of the following species of drug-resistant bacteria:

  • Staphylococcus spp. (more than one species) including Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Community Acquired Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA).
  • Streptococcus spp.
  • Enterococcus spp.
  • E. coli
  • Klebsiella spp.
  • Proteus spp.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Salmonella spp.
  • Shigella spp.
  • Several Other Bacterial Strains that are Emerging as Significant Challenges Even to the Most Advanced Antibiotics
  • Bacterial Infections Complicated with Candida and Other Yeast / Fungi


Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2013