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Encyclopedia > Antimicrobial

An antimicrobial is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microbes such as bacteria. Antimicrobial drugs are drugs designed to kill, or prevent the growth of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses). Bacteria, fungi, and viruses are responsible for almost all of the common infectious diseases found in North America from athlete's foot, to AIDS, to ulcers (as of 2001). Interestingly enough, many disorders formerly thought to be caused by other factors, like stress, are now known to be caused by bacteria. For example, it has been shown that many ulcers are caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, and not by stress, as many originally thought. Thus, antimicrobials represent an important part of medicine today. A microorganism or microbe is an organism that is so small that it is microscopic (invisible to the naked eye). ... Phyla/Divisions Actinobacteria Aquificae Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi Chlamydiae/Verrucomicrobia Chloroflexi Chrysiogenetes Cyanobacteria Deferribacteres Deinococcus-Thermus Dictyoglomi Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria Firmicutes Fusobacteria Gemmatimonadetes Nitrospirae Omnibacteria Planctomycetes Proteobacteria Spirochaetes Thermodesulfobacteria Thermomicrobia Thermotogae Bacteria (singular, bacterium) are a major group of living organisms. ...


The history of antimicrobials begins with the observations of Pasteur and Joubert, who discovered that one type of bacteria could prevent the growth of another. They did not know at that time that the reason one bacteria failed to grow was that the other bacteria was producing an antibiotic. Technically, antibiotics are only those substances that are produced by one microorganism that kill, or prevent the growth, of another microorganism. Of course, in today's common usage, the term antibiotic is used to refer to almost any drug that cures a bacterial infection. Antimicrobials include not just antibiotics, but synthetically formed compounds as well.


The discovery of antimicrobials like penicillin and tetracycline paved the way for better health for millions around the world. Before 1941, the year penicillin was discovered, no true cure for gonorrhea, strep throat, or pneumonia existed. Patients with infected wounds often had to have a wounded limb removed, or face death from infection. Now, most of these infections can be easily cured with a short course of antimicrobials.


However, the future effectiveness of antimicrobial therapy is somewhat in doubt. Microorganisms, especially bacteria, are becoming resistant to more and more antimicrobial agents. Bacteria found in hospitals appear to be especially resilient, and are causing increasing difficulty for the sickest patients–those in the hospital. Currently, bacterial resistance is combated by the discovery of new drugs. However, microorganisms are becoming resistant more quickly than new drugs are being found, Thus, future research in antimicrobial therapy may focus on finding how to overcome resistance to antimicrobials, or how to treat infections with alternative means.


Chris Bova Phd.


(antibacterial activity), fungi (antifungal activity), viruses (antiviral activity), or parasites (antiparasitic activity). An antiseptic is a substance that kills or prevents the growth of bacteria on the external surfaces of the body. ... Divisions Chytridiomycota Zygomycota Ascomycota Basidiomycota The Fungi (singular: fungus) are a large group of organisms ranked as a kingdom within the Domain Eukaryota. ... Something antifungal kills or inhibits the growth of fungus. ... This article is about biological infectious particles. ... Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used specifically for treating viral infections. ... A parasite is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life in or on the living tissue of a host organism and which causes harm to the host without immediately killing it. ... Antiparasitics are a class of medications which are indicated for the treatment of infection by parasites such as nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, infectious protozoa, and amoebas. ...

Contents

Main classes

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are generally used to treat bacterial infections. The toxicity to humans and other animals from antibiotics are generally considered to be low. However, prolonged use of certain antibiotics can decrease the number of gut flora, which can have a negative impact on health. Some recommend that during or after prolonged antibiotic use, that one should consume probiotics and eat reasonably to replace destroyed gut flora. An antibiotic is a drug that kills or slows the growth of bacteria. ... Infection is also the title of an episode of the television series Babylon 5; see Infection (Babylon 5). ... Escherichia coli, one of the many species of bacteria present in the human gut. ... Probiotics are dietary supplements containing potentially beneficial bacteria. ...


The term antibiotic originally described only those formulations derived from living organisms but is now applied also to synthetic antimicrobials, such as the sulfonamides. In chemistry, chemical synthesis is purposeful execution of chemical reactions in order to get a product, or several products. ... In chemistry, the sulfonamide functional group is -S(=O)2-NH2, a sulfone group connected to an amine group. ...


The discovery, development, and clinical use of antibiotics during the 19th century have substantially decreased mortality from bacterial infections. The antibiotic era began with the pneumatic application of nitroglycerine drugs, followed by a “golden” period of discovery from approximately 1945 to 1970, when a number of structurally diverse, highly effective agents were discovered and developed. However, since 1980 the introduction of new antimicrobial agents for clinical use has declined. Paralleled to this there has been an alarming increase in bacterial resistance to existing agents.[1] Nitroglycerin (also nitroglycerine, trinitroglycerin, or glyceryl trinitrate) is a chemical compound, a heavy, colorless, poisonous, oily, explosive liquid obtained by nitrating glycerol. ... Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a microorganism to withstand the effects of an antibiotic. ...


Antibiotics are among the most commonly used drugs. For example, 30% or more hospitalized patients are treated with one or more courses of antibiotic therapy.[citation needed] However, antibiotics are also among the drugs commonly misused by physicians, e.g. usage of antibiotic agents in viral respiratory tract infection. The inevitable consequence of widespread and injudicious use of antibiotics has been the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, resulting in the emergence of a serious threat to global public health. The resistance problem demands that a renewed effort be made to seek antibacterial agents effective against pathogenic bacteria resistant to current antibiotics. One of the possible strategies towards this objective is the rational localization of bioactive phytochemicals. Respiratory tract infections can refer to: Lower respiratory tract infection Upper respiratory tract infection Category: ... Phytochemicals are plant or fruit derived chemical compounds. ...


Antivirals

Main article: Antiviral drug

Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used specifically for treating viral infections. Like antibiotics, specific antivirals are used for specific viruses. They are relatively harmless to the host, and therefore can be used to treat infections. They should be distinguished from viricides, which actively deactivate virus particles outside the body. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used specifically for treating viral infections. ... This article is about biological infectious particles. ... Pharmacotherapy is the practice of treating diseases with medication. ... A viricide is a chemical agent which kills viruses outside the body. ...


Most of the antivirals now available are designed to help deal with HIV; herpes viruses, best known for causing cold sores and genital herpes, but actually causing a wide range of diseases; the hepatitis B and C viruses, which can cause liver cancer; and influenza A and B viruses. Researchers are now working to extend the range of antivirals to other families of pathogens. Species Human immunodeficiency virus 1 Human immunodeficiency virus 2 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections). ... Genera Subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae    Simplexvirus    Varicellovirus    Mardivirus    Iltovirus Subfamily Betaherpesvirinae    Cytomegalovirus    Muromegalovirus    Roseolovirus Subfamily Gammaherpesvirinae    Lymphocryptovirus    Rhadinovirus Unassigned    Ictalurivirus The Herpesviridae are a family of DNA viruses that cause diseases in humans and animals. ... “HBV” redirects here. ... This page is for the disease. ... Genera Influenzavirus A Influenzavirus B Influenzavirus C Isavirus Thogotovirus Influenzavirus A is a genus of the family of viruses called Orthomyxoviridae in virus classification. ... Influenzavirus B is a genus in the virus family Orthomyxoviridae. ...


Antifungals

Main article: Antifungal drug

An antifungal drug is medication used to treat fungal infections such as athlete's foot, ringworm, candidiasis (thrush), serious systemic infections such as cryptococcal meningitis, and others. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... An antifungal drug is medication used to treat fungal infections such as athletes foot, ringworm, candidiasis (thrush), serious systemic infections such as cryptococcal meningitis, and others. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Divisions Chytridiomycota Zygomycota Ascomycota Basidiomycota The Fungi (singular: fungus) are a large group of organisms ranked as a kingdom within the Domain Eukaryota. ... Athletes foot or Tinea pedis[1] is a parasitic fungal infection of the epidermis of the foot. ... This article is about the fungal infection. ... Cryptococcus is a genus of fungus. ... Meningitis is the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the central nervous system, known collectively as the meninges. ...


Antifungals work by exploiting differences between mammalian and fungal cells to kill off the fungal organism without dangerous effects on the host. Unlike bacteria, both fungi and humans are eukaryotes. Thus fungal and human cells are similar at the molecular level. This means it is more difficult to find a target for an antifungal drug to attack that does not also exist in the infected organism. Consequently, there are often side-effects to some of these drugs. Some of these side-effects can be life-threatening if not used properly. Kingdoms Animalia - Animals Fungi Plantae - Plants Chromalveolata Protista Alternative phylogeny Unikonta Opisthokonta Metazoa Choanozoa Eumycota Amoebozoa Bikonta Apusozoa Cabozoa Rhizaria Excavata Corticata Archaeplastida Chromalveolata Animals, plants, fungi, and protists are eukaryotes (IPA: ), organisms whose cells are organized into complex structures by internal membranes and a cytoskeleton. ... Drawing of the structure of cork as it appeared under the microscope to Robert Hooke from Micrographia which is the origin of the word cell being used to describe the smallest unit of a living organism Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green) The cell is the... Adverse effect, in medicine, is an abnormal, harmful, undesired and/or unintended side-effect, although not necessarily unexpected, which is obtained as the result of a therapy or other medical intervention, such as drug/chemotherapy, physical therapy, surgery, medical procedure, use of a medical device, etc. ...


Antiparasitics

Main article: Antiparasitic

Antiparasitics are a class of medications which are indicated for the treatment of infection by parasites such as nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, infectious protozoa, and amoebas. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Antiparasitics are a class of medications which are indicated for the treatment of infection by parasites such as nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, infectious protozoa, and amoebas. ... A parasite is an organism that lives in or on the living tissue of a host organism at the expense of it. ... Classes Adenophora    Subclass Enoplia    Subclass Chromadoria Secernentea    Subclass Rhabditia    Subclass Spiruria    Subclass Diplogasteria The roundworms (Phylum Nematoda) are one of the most common phyla of animals, with over 20,000 different described species. ... Orders Subclass Cestodaria Amphilinidea Gyrocotylidea Subclass Eucestoda Aporidea Caryophyllidea Cyclophyllidea Diphyllidea Lecanicephalidea Litobothridea Nippotaeniidea Proteocephalidea Pseudophyllidea Spathebothriidea Tetraphyllidea Trypanorhyncha In biology, Cestoda is the class of parasitic flatworms, called tapeworms, that live in the digestive tracts of vertebrates as adults and often in the bodies of various animals as juveniles. ... Orders not necessarily a complete list Azygiida Echinostomida Opisthorchiida Plagiorchiida Strigeata Strigeatida Trematodes are also known as flukes. ... Leishmania donovani, (a species of protozoan) in a bone marrow cell (in Greek proto = first and zoa = animals) are one-celled eukaryotes (that is, unicellular microbes whose cells have membrane-bound nuclei) that commonly show characteristics usually associated with animals, mobility and heterotrophy. ... For other uses, see Amoeba (disambiguation). ...


Non-pharmaceutical antimicrobials

Traditional healers have long used plants to prevent or cure infectious disease. Many of these plants have been investigated scientifically for antimicrobial activity and a large number of plant products have been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. A number of these agents appear to have structures and modes of action that are distinct from those of the antibiotics in current use, suggesting that cross-resistance with agents already in use may be minimal. So, it is worthwhile to study plants and plant products for activity against resistant bacteria. Cross-resistance is the tolerance to a usually toxic substance as a result of exposure to a similarly acting substance. ...


Essential oils

Many essential oils are included in pharmacopoeias as having antimicrobial activity, including: An essential oil is a concentrated, hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aromatic compounds from plants. ... Back cover of the Chinese pharmacopoeia First Edition (published in 1930) Pharmacopoeia (literally, the art of the drug compounder), in its modern technical sense, is a book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a...

Binomial name Origanum vulgare L. Oregano or Pot Marjoram (Origanum vulgare) is a species of Origanum, native to Europe, the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia. ... Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Oil) Tea tree oil or melaleuca oil is a clear to very pale golden color essential oil with a fresh camphoraceous odour. ... “Mint” redirects here. ... The branches of a young sandalwood tree found in Hawaii Sandalwood is the fragrant wood of trees in the genus Santalum. ... Binomial name (L.) Merrill & Perry A single dried clove flower bud Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. ... Stomatology (oral medicine) is the medical study of the mouth and its diseases. ... Binomial name L. Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia. ... For other uses, see Onion (disambiguation). ... Phytoncide - native volatile organic substances which is contained in plants scents. ... Dioscorides’ Materia Medica, c. ... Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. ... This article is about the fruit. ... Scientific name: Backhousia Citriodora. ... This article is about the plant genus. ... Binomial name Mentha × piperita L. Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) is a (usually) sterile hybrid mint, a cross between watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). ... Binomial name J.Presl Cassia (Chinese cinnamon) is also commonly called (and sometimes sold as) cinnamon. ... Binomial name (L.) Merrill & Perry A single dried clove flower bud Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. ... Species About 350 species, including: Thymus adamovicii Thymus altaicus Thymus amurensis Thymus bracteosus Thymus broussonetii Thymus caespititius Thymus camphoratus Thymus capitatus Thymus capitellatus Thymus camphoratus Thymus carnosus Thymus cephalotus Thymus cherlerioides Thymus ciliatus Thymus cilicicus Thymus cimicinus Thymus comosus Thymus comptus Thymus curtus Thymus disjunctus Thymus doerfleri Thymus glabrescens Thymus...

Cations and elements

Many heavy metal cations such as Hg2+, Cu2+, and Pb2+ have antimicrobial activities, but are also very toxic to other living organisms, thus making them unsuitable for treating infectious diseases. Colloidal silver is commonly used as an antimicrobial in alternative medicine without clear --210. ...


See also

A biocide is a chemical substance capable of killing different forms of living organisms used in fields such as medicine, agriculture, forestry, and mosquito control. ...

References

  1. ^ Levy SB (ed) (1994) Drug Resistance: The New Apocalypse (special issue) Trends Microbiol 2: 341–425

  Results from FactBites:
 
Antimicrobial - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (448 words)
An antimicrobial is a substance that kills or slows the growth of microbes like bacteria (antibacterial activity), fungi (antifungal activity), viruses (antiviral activity), or parasites (antiparasitic activity).
Antibiotics are one class of antibacterial and antifungal antimicrobials that can potentially be used as medicinal drugs to treat infections because of their low toxicity for humans or animals.
Antimicrobials are among the most commonly used drugs.
Clinical decision system helps reduce inappropriate antimicrobial prescribing (920 words)
Antimicrobial resistance is a serious public threat that is exacerbated by the gradual withdrawal of the pharmaceutical industry from new antimicrobial agent development, according to background information in the article.
Approximately 50 percent of courses of ambulatory antimicrobial drugs are prescribed for patients with viral respiratory infections and therefore, are not clinically indicated.
The relative decrease in antimicrobial prescribing for visits in the antibiotics "never-indicated" category during the post-intervention period was 32 percent in CDSS communities and 5 percent in community intervention-alone communities.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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