Resistance Times Ten

By Lee Anna Sherman

Pathogens resistant to one or more drugs are on the rise. Below are 10 diseases associated with antimicrobial resistance identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

1. Anthrax. Occurs rarely in humans. Caused by exposure to infected animals or animal products. Also has been used in bioterrorism weapons.

2. Bacillary dysentery . Caused by a bacterium called shigella. Kills more than 1 million people per year, mostly children.

3. Bacterial pneumonia. A leading cause of serious illness among young children worldwide. Overuse of antibiotics contributes to emerging resistance.

Vibrio Cholerae can form biofilms, a subject of study in Martin Schuster's lab at OSU.
Vibrio Cholerae can form biofilms, a subject of study in Martin Schuster’s lab at Oregon State University.

4. Cholera. Sickens up to 5 million and kills more than 100,000 people per year. Many bacteria show resistance to some antibiotics.

5. Gonorrhea. A sexually transmitted disease infecting 62 million people per year. Strains may be resistant to penicillin, tetracycline and fluoroquinolones.

6. Malaria. A mosquito-borne disease that infects 216 million people per year. Resistance, found in two of four human malaria parasite species, is fueling disease rates.

7. Meningococcal disease. An infection that can affect the spinal cord, brain and bloodstream. The first cases of fluoroquinolone resistance in the United States were reported in 2007.

8. MRSA. MRSA is a skin-based staph infection resistant to methicillin and other antibiotics. Serious or life-threatening infections occur most often in hospitals and health-care facilities.

9. Tuberculosis . Second to HIV/AIDS as top infectious killer, taking nearly 1.5 million lives yearly. Multidrug-resistant TB is present in nearly every country surveyed by WHO.

10. Typhoid fever. A food- and water-borne disease infecting 22 million people yearly. Increasing resistance to drugs, including fluoroquinolones, presents a treatment challenge.