Stories tagged resistance

Most insecticides work by killing bugs before they get the chance to grow and reproduce, but a new research study suggests that when it comes to mosquitos and malaria, this strategy might be part of the problem. Killing young mosquitoes increases the selective pressure on the population to develop resistance to pesticides. This means that any given pesticide will stop working shortly after it is introduced, making it harder to fight the disease, which is caused by parasites and spread by mosquitoes. By killing the mosquitoes when they are older, but before they are old enough to spread Malaria, scientists believe they can prolong the effectiveness of pesticides and save lives. This article explains more about their ideas. Learn more about malaria and share your thoughts on Science Buzz.

Some microbes are resistant to antibiotics. Researchers in England have developed a way to change the molecular structure of antibiotics to make them more effective against these “superbugs.”

A compound, platensimycin, found in soil microbes may be the source of a powerful new antibiotic. In the lab, it wiped out strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus that were resistant to our most powerful current drugs. The drug won't be ready for human use for years, but if it passes all safety and efficacy tests, it will be the third new antibiotic to reach patients in the last 40 years. And the strongest.


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.