“Superbugs” or antibiotic-resistant microorganisms are known to be a significant health risk. Their existence has been linked to the overuse of antibiotics, and new research has shown the misuse of disinfectants leads to the growth of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are 256 times more resistant to ciprofloxacin “Cipro” a widely used antibiotic. The study found that the bacteria are developing a resistance to the disinfectants, and these resistant organisms become dominant in the environment. The findings are concerning as disinfectants are the first line of defense against the spread of illness-causing bacteria. This misuse of disinfectants not only helps to create superbugs, but they jeopardize the effectiveness of the first line of defense.
Artwork of bacterial cells becoming resistant to antibiotics.This resistance is acquired from a donor cell’s plasmid (circular unit of deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA), which has resistance seen at upper left (red/yellow, red is resistance). Viral transmission involves a virus (pink, lower left) obtaining a resistant gene, and passing it to a bacterial cell that incorporates it into its plasmid. Bacterial cells also acquire segments of DNA released from dead cells (upper left). Mutations (not seen) may also occur, which may be antibiotic resistant and thus allow the bacteria to survive and reproduce.
© Bryson Biomedical Illustrations / Custom Medical Stock Photo / Science Photo Library