Chapter 17 : Contexts and Challenges for the Use of New Antibiotics

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The emergence of huge population centers, with 10 to 20 million inhabitants in large cities without adequate hygiene and sanitation, has been described as a time bomb for emergence of new infectious diseases. As a counterpoint to newly emerging bacterial pathogens is the increase in known pathogens with new arsenals of drug resistance. While hospitals are clearly fertile arenas for selection of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria, a complementary arena that has been understood for decades is the use of antibiotics in animal feed, for growth promotion and infectious disease prophylaxis. It has been noted that overgrowth has led to restrictions on cephalosporin use in certain geriatric populations and that extensive use of cephalosporins in the 1980s played a significant part in the emergence and spread of Methicillin-resistant (MRSA) in London and in Tokyo hospitals as well as the selection for and strains with many mutational variants of the plasmid-encoded β-lactamases. Increased molecular knowledge about essential bacterial genes and the ability to screen such validated targets with libraries of new synthetic and natural products are likely to turn up new antibiotics against nontraditional bacterial targets. But new antibiotic molecules by themselves will not alter the kinetics of the cycles of resistance development.

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Contexts and Challenges for the Use of New Antibiotics, p 285-295. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch17
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Problem pathogens. Electron micrograph of vancomycin-resistant enterococci exposed to vancomycin, with inset of a control cell grown in trypticase soy broth alone. Bar = 1 m. (From , with permission.)

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Contexts and Challenges for the Use of New Antibiotics, p 285-295. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch17
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Figure 17.1

Antibiotic resistance phenotypes of multidrug-resistant serovar typhimurium DT104.

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Contexts and Challenges for the Use of New Antibiotics, p 285-295. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch17
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Figure 17.2

Suggestion for antibiotic cycling to treat bacterial sepsis in hospitals. (From Gould [1999], with permission.)

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Contexts and Challenges for the Use of New Antibiotics, p 285-295. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch17
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