A very rare strain of Salmonella known as Typhimurium was recently discovered in a group of hamsters. A Minnesota veterinarian discovered the bacteria in these animals while checking a shipment for a pet distributor. The veterinarian noted that the hamsters were sweaty, hunched over and had crusty eyes and diarrhea. She sent some of the hamsters in to the University of Minnesota's Diagnostic Laboratory for testing where it was discovered the animals had Salmonella infections.

Eventually the Salmonella was transmitted to people who had purchased infected animals. However, these Salmonella infections were hard to treat as the strain of Salmonella had become immune to several standard antibiotics. This was likely because many breeders and distributors routinely used these standard antibiotics to prevent diarrheal disease in their animals. Since the breeders and distributors used the antibiotics as a preventative measure, and not as a treatment for an actual sickness, some Salmonella bacteria had developed resistance to the drugs.

This is just one example where a new strain of an infectious disease emerged that is resistant to antibiotics because of the overuse of antibiotics and their use as a preventative measure rather than to treat a specific illness. This prophylactic use of antibiotics is most common in the livestock and poultry industry where antibiotics are used to compensate for unsanitary conditions, not as a treatment.

To learn more about the dangers of the overuse of antibiotics, visit the Keep Antibiotics Working website.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Ear infections are the most common reason for antibiotic prescriptions for children. But studies have shown that many ear infections clear up on their own, and, with increasing concerns about antibiotic resistance, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians now suggest that parents and pediatricians "watch and wait" before using the drugs. The technique has been found to be clinically effective and reduced the need for antibiotics and the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections.

(The recommendation applies to children 2 and older who present with mild ear pain, without high fever, and for whom the pediatrician believes prompt follow-up is certain should symptoms get worse.)

posted on Mon, 06/06/2005 - 8:33pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Adel Jabbour, a Ph.D. student at the University of Jerusalem, has developed a method for controlling bacteria without using antibiotics.

Most bacteria associated with human and animal diseases live together in "communities" called biofilms that attach themselves to surfaces: live tissues, implants, teeth, water pipes, air conditioning ducts, etc. These bacteria communicate, using boron-based molecules, and this communication controls the action of the bacteria.

Jabbour has created artificial compounds that resemble the natural communication molecules and can disrupt their signalling. They can impede bacterial action, like an antibiotic would, or they can enhance it (in cases where the bacteria are actually beneficial).

posted on Mon, 06/06/2005 - 8:46pm
Connor Lewis's picture
Connor Lewis says:

what is the most deadly bacteria? Is it small pox? the black death?

posted on Sat, 03/18/2006 - 10:45am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Here's a different article from Forbes on the most dangerous bacteria.

posted on Wed, 03/25/2009 - 11:28am
Laurie's picture
Laurie says:

Antibiotic resistance is a big problem that I fear will only get bigger. Check out a recent "Special Report" in Forbes which presents the problem.

posted on Tue, 06/20/2006 - 2:08pm
Steven's picture
Steven says:

S. typhimurium are also isolated from human with gastrointeritis in Ghana. i also think that antibiotic resistance including that of S. typhimurium is a real problem that needs to be well address else the world is in danger.

posted on Fri, 07/07/2006 - 3:24am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Here is an article/podcast from Scientific American about these new antibiotics.

posted on Wed, 03/25/2009 - 11:24am

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