Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 593–603

Emerging antibiotic resistance in bacteria with special reference to India



The antibiotic era started in the 1940s and changed the profile of infectious diseases and human demography. The burgeoning classes and numbers promised much and elimination of this major cause of human (and animal) morbidity appeared possible. Bacterial antibiotic resistance which was observed soon after antibiotic introduction has been studied extensively. Diverse mechanisms have been demonstrated and the genetic basis elucidated. The resilience of the prokaryote ecosystems to antibiotic stress has been realized. The paper presents these subjects briefly to afford an overview. The epidemiology of antibiotic resistance is dealt with and community practices in different countries are described. The role of high antibiotic usage environments is indicated. The implication of the wide use of antibiotics in animals has been pointed out. Steadily increasing antibiotic resistance and decreasing numbers of newer antibiotics appear to point to a post-antibiotic period during which treatment of infections would become increasingly difficult. This article attempts to review the global antimicrobial resistance scene and juxtaposes it to the Indian experience. The prevalence in India of antibiotic resistance among major groups of pathogens is described. The factors that determine the prevalent high antibiotic resistance rates have been highlighted. The future research activity to ensure continued utility of antibiotics in the control of infections has been indicated.


Antibiotic modifying enzymes antibiotic resistance antimicrobial epidemiology plasmids/transposon/integron post-antibiotic era 

Abbreviations used


community-associated methicillian-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


lower respiratory tract infection


multidrug resistant


minimum inhibitory concentration


mycobacteria other than tuberculosis


upper respiratory tract


Vancomycin-resistant enterococci


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© Indian Academy of Sciences 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sir Dorabji Tata Centre for Research in Tropical DiseasesInnovation CentreBangaloreIndia

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