Antibiotic Resistance – Reason to Panic?

As an infection biologist, the following topic is particularly close to my heart: the ever-increasing spread of multi-resistant germs, such as the “famous” MRSA bacteria. These are methicillin or multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains that are particularly common in hospitals. Figures for Germany assume approximately 132,000 1 MRSA infections per year. The number of deaths is estimated at approximately 40,000 2 . There is currently an “outbreak” in the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein with 11 deaths so far. It remains to be clarified whether these, mostly elderly, patients actually died of an Acinetobacter baumanii infection resistant to 4 antibiotic groups . EThere are many types of bacteria that are becoming increasingly resistant to all possible classes of antibiotics. To name a few:

the Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumanii , Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis 3 mentioned at the beginning .

Ascending trend. The situation becomes dramatic due to the increasingly difficult development of new classes of antibiotics.

1 . What are antibiotic resistance?

As the name implies, bacteria can become resistant to all kinds of antibiotics. These resistances are based on random mutations in certain genes of the bacteria, which, among other things, mean that, for example, ß-lactam antibiotics, such as the famous penicillin, can no longer bind to their target protein and therefore cannot develop their effect. Other types of resistance lead to the removal of antibiotics, as in the case of tetracyclines, with the help of so-called Efflux pumps. These are membrane-bound proteins that can transport molecules out of the cell. When it comes to the diversity of resistance mechanisms, the bacteria are really absolute masters.

2. Why are bacteria resistant?

Erster Hauptgrund ist der maßlose Einsatz von Antibiotika in der Tierzucht als sogenannte Leistungsförderer, welche zu einer besseren Aufnahme der Nährstoffe führen. Z.B. indem sie das Verhältnis von Propion-, Essig- und Milchsäure-bildende Bakterien im Pansen von Rindern kontrollieren und somit das Verhältnis dieser Säuren zueinander. Dies wiederum führt zu einer besseren Futterverwertung und somit zu einem Zuwachs an Muskelmasse. Auch in der Geflügelzucht sind Antibiotika so weit verbreitet, dass sie in fast jeder dritten Probe von tiefgekühltem Geflügel nachgewiesen werden konnten4.

Zweiter Hauptgrund ist das zu häufige Verschreiben und die unsachgemäße Anwendung von Antibiotika. Wer Antibiotika verschrieben bekommt, MUSS diese bitte bis zum Schluss nehmen.

If this is not adhered to, several million bacterial cells can survive and have developed resistance due to the selection pressure exerted. These resistances are encoded on so-called plasmids, extrachromosomal DNA sections, and passed on to a plasmid-free cell during conjugation, i.e. bacterial sex, which also makes them resistant. And now we have the salad.

3. What can you do about it?

Please roast your meat very well and wear kitchen gloves when handling the meat.

And please please take antibiotics as rarely as possible and if so, please ALWAYS until the package is empty.

Fortunately, something is happening on a political level, as always, very slowly. See here:;jsessionid=C599BC8A51051B466DC41C456E2A4C85.2_cid376?nn=539690¬First=true61834Id=26



2 German Society for Hospital Hygiene



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