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Urinary tract infections are increasingly becoming resistant to first-line antibiotics, and this may be a warning for our ability to treat other microbial infections

About half of women and more than one in 10 men will get a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime, with many people experiencing recurrent UTIs. These common bacterial infections, which can lead to painful urination, have been easily treated and cured with antibiotics for decades.

But as a result of antibiotic resistance—when bacteria become resistant to the medicines used to treat them—a number of antibiotics routinely employed for UTIs have become ineffective, leading to more severe illness, hospitalizations and mortality while driving up medical costs.

Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but the use and misuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock have accelerated it. One 2019 study found that more than 92 percent of bacteria that cause UTIs are resistant to at least one common antibiotic, and almost 80 percent are resistant to at least two. Escherichia coli is the most common cause of UTIs.

Author: Jaimie Seaton Scientific American