Across the span of human history, pathogenic bacteria have been one of the main killers of human and animal populations, causing untold misery to human civilization. Throughout the 20th Century, medical science managed to make significant progress against pathogenic bacteria and the diseases they cause through the use of antibiotics.
However, due to antibiotics being over-prescribed by medical professionals and the over-use of antibiotics within the dairy and meat industries, there are several worrying setbacks in the fight against bacterial infection. New drug-resistant strains of bacteria including MRSA have emerged over the past few decades, and ‘old’ diseases such as tuberculosis have now adapted and are on the rise in developing countries where previously they were close to eradication.
Currently, medical professionals are researching several alternatives to antibiotics to increase the effectiveness of medical science in combating infection.
The relationship between host and pathogen is a complex one that is constantly evolving. Pathogenicity depends on a variety of factors both belonging to the microorganism and the host and any perturbations in this relationship can have profound effects on the progression and severity of the disease caused.
Whilst modern medicine has largely managed to effectively treat a bacterial infection, growing issues such as antibiotic resistance show that there is clearly some way to go before we can completely eradicate disease.