A need exists for rapid change in the social mindset of the next generation on antibiotics. If our youth do not appreciate the challenges facing public health officials today, they may end up living under the shadow of untreatable bacterial infections known as the post-antibiotic era.
As a physician, I see the illnesses caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. No child should suffer from a disease that can be prevented by vaccines. I also see children who can't be immunized because of a medical condition such as cancer, and who rely on others around them to be immunized so the virus or bacteria does not spread. We all play an important role in preventing infections that we once feared.
At its core, antibiotic resistance is merely a coping mechanism. Bacteria are faced with a rather dire form of stress and need to find a way to cope. They can take the biological route of genetic mutation to render the drug useless. They also can gain a plasmid from the environment or another bacterium, to gain resistance mechanisms.
In Canada, the December marks the arrival of several infectious respiratory viruses, such as the dreaded influenza virus. Depending on what part of the country you call home, other names such as rhinovirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, coronavirus, and human metapneumovirus are circulating amongst the population.
As the temperature continues to plunge this winter, many Canadians will turn to scarves -- and more recently necktubes -- to keep their necks and faces warm. These swatches of fabric ensure those areas left open by jackets and coats are kept safe from the prevailing winds and wayward flakes of snow. Yet, they may serve another purpose as protectors of our health.
While our thoughts may focus on the moments in which soldiers have gone to battle to face a known enemy, we tend to forget another kind of foe facing the troops. This one isn't human, however, it's microbial. Indeed, infectious diseases have claimed millions of lives and at times left those who fight in dire straits.
Drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) is a perfect example of the threat posed by "Antimicrobial Resistance" (AMR). The most common form drug-resistant TB is multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), which means that TB bacteria are resistant to two of the best first-line antibiotics -- isoniazid and rifampicin.
There are many welcome hallmarks to summer, such as the longer days and pleasant temperatures. Yet, summer also brings unwanted risks like damaging storms, oppressive heat waves, forest fires, and drought. One of the least favoured recurrences is the rise in mosquito populations and the potential for West Nile Virus infection.