Slide Show: Antimicrobial Resistance
The resistance of bacteria to antibiotics and similar drugs—called antimicrobials—is considered a major public health threat by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its counterparts around the world. Antibiotics have transformed healthcare since they were introduced in the 1940s and have been widely used to fight bacterial infections. These and similar drugs kill or inhibit the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. However, some infectious organisms have developed resistance to the antibiotics used to treat patients with infections. When bacteria become resistant to an antibiotic, that medicine becomes less effective. Medical treatment of people infected with these drug-resistant organisms can become more complicated, leading to longer hospital stays, increased healthcare costs, and in extreme cases, to untreatable infections.