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Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseasespathogen control and public health management in low-income countries$
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Benjamin Roche, Hélène Broutin, and Frédéric Simard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198789833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198789833.001.0001

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Antimicrobial resistance: the 70-year arms race between humans and bacteria

Antimicrobial resistance: the 70-year arms race between humans and bacteria

Chapter:
(p.77) Chapter 6 Antimicrobial resistance: the 70-year arms race between humans and bacteria
Source:
Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases
Author(s):

Anne-Laure Bañuls

Thi Van Ahn Nguyen

Quang Huy Nguyen

Thi Ngoc Anh Nguyen

Hoang Huy Tran

Sylvain Godreuil

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198789833.003.0006

Antimicrobial resistance started to become a human health issue in the 1940s, following the discovery of the first antibiotics. The golden age of antibiotics (the 1950s through 1970s) marked the beginning of the arms race between humans and bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance is now among the greatest threats to human health; occurring in every region of the world and with the potential to affect anyone, anywhere. We describe the main mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance, as well as how the bacteria evolve into “superbugs.” We detail the role of human activities on the emergence and spread of highly drug-resistant bacteria. Currently, data to identify the specific causes, and to establish the baseline in low-income countries, are lacking. Because of the continual increase of multidrug resistance, the situation is urgent. The chapter ends with a view to the future, with a discussion of the specific problems of low-income countries and initiatives taken.

Keywords:   Antibiotics, bacteria, human activities, superbugs, evolution, antimicrobial resistance, horizontal genetic transfer

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