Do we really have to take all our medicine? Predicting the Consequences of Large-Scale Antibiotic Misuse
Failure to properly complete antibiotic treatments can result in the eventual development of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotic therapy. If present trends in antibiotic misuse continue, infections that are easily treated today may not be so in the future. We consider a stochastic model and use Markov chain analysis to examine the conditions of misuse under which resistant strains will thrive. Virulence differences in the competing strains are taken into consideration, as is the possibility of superinfection. The probability of extinction is calculated for each strain. We predict the long-term effects of antibiotic misuse and consider the specific case of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria that cause pneumonia.
Caroline Cutting, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Claudia Morales, University of Alabama-Huntsville
Fabio Sánchez, Universidad Metropolitana-Cupey
Deena Schmidt, The University of Akron
Baojun Song, Cornell University
Carlos Hernández-Suarez, Universidad de Colima - México