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Commentary
December 2002

Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics

Arch Surg. 2002;137(12):1417-1418. doi:10.1001/archsurg.137.12.1417

INCREASING ANTIBIOTIC resistance is a vexing public health problem. Given the inherent adaptability of pathogenic bacteria, emergence of resistance is an inevitable consequence of antibiotic use. Although prevention is impossible, delaying emergence of resistance and mitigation of the clinical impact of infections with resistant bacteria are important objectives to be achieved.

Resistance of bacteria usually is attributed to overuse as well as inappropriate use of antibiotics, especially of newly introduced, broad spectrum drugs. The traditional response in the infectious disease community has been to implement methods for restricting prescription of selected antibiotics. These programs of control have been shown to result in a short-term decrease in overall use of, and an accompanying improvement in resistance to, the target antibiotics.

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