Bacteria, Viruses, and Antibiotics

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bacteria, Viruses, and Antibiotics

Bacteria are single-organisms that sometimes can be found inside and outside of our entire body, except in blood and spinal fluid (spinal cord). Most bacteria are not harmful. In fact some of the bacteria are actually beneficial. Nevertheless, there are disease-causing bacteria that can lead to diseases, like strep throat from streptococcal bacteria and a number of ear infections.

Viruses are smaller than bacteria. Viruses can not survive outside the body cells. Viruses cause disease by invading healthy cells and multiply.
Infection with a virus that should not be treated with antibiotics include:
  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Most coughs and bronchitis
  • Sore throat (except that caused by streptococcal bacteria)
  • Some ear infections

What is an antibiotic?
Antibiotics, also known as antimicrobial drugs, are drugs that fight infections caused by bacteria. Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotil, penicillin, in 1927. After the first use in the 1940s, antibiotics transformed medical care and dramatically reduced illness and deaths from infectious diseases.
The term "antibiotic" originally aimed at a natural compound produced by a fungus or other microorganisms that kill bacteria that cause disease in humans and animals. Some antibiotics may be synthetic compounds (not produced by microorganisms) that can also kill or inhibit microbial growth. Technically, the term "antimicrobial agent" refers to both natural and synthetic compounds, however, many people use the word "antibiotic" to refer both of them. Although antibiotics have many beneficial effects, its use is not rational have contributed to the problem of antibiotic resistance.


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