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Chapter 55 : Antibiotic Treatments and the Intestinal Ecosystem

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Abstract:

Antibacterial agents belong to the therapeutic class whose use over the last few decades has most transformed human health and the prognosis for numerous systemic or localized infectious diseases. It is from the bacteria in the digestive tract that a number of systemic, opportunistic, and nosocomial infections arise. It is also within the intestinal ecosystem that favorable conditions exist for genetic exchanges between bacteria, exchanges which when they are fruitful may be the source of dissemination of the trait of resistance. This chapter talks about two essential concepts that need to be understood when attention is devoted to the human colonic flora: first of all, the host specificity of the bacterial species that make up the flora and, second, the stability of the composition within the same species and over time in the same individual. It also focuses on dominant and subdominant flora. Diseases due to anaerobic bacteria in the intestinal flora are much less common, but these too involve opportunistic types of disease. Many bacterial species may also be found in the human colonic flora. In fact, this apparent diversity masks great stability within the resident flora under normal conditions. The deleterious effect of antibiotic treatments on colonization resistance has been observed on many occasions. The chapter discusses the effect of antibiotics on the resident flora and decontamination. The digestive tract is the preferential site of multiplication and dissemination of resistance traits during antibiotic treatment.

Citation: Andremont A. 2005. Antibiotic Treatments and the Intestinal Ecosystem, p 1353-1356. In Bryskier, M.D. A (ed), Antimicrobial Agents. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815929.ch55

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References

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