Infectious Disease Specialist Questions Antibiotic Resistance

What is the way to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria?

I have a minor wound in my leg that seems to be slightly infected. The doctor sent the pus for a culture and the report says it is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. What does this mean?

6 Answers

Many bacteria are resistant to some antibiotics. Some bacteria are MDR/ multi-drug resistant. Even these MDR bacteria are usually sensitive to some antibiotics that can be used for treatment.
Most likely your leg is infected with a resistant staff or strep organism which are common to the skin. Because of the use of antibiotics and overuse, these organisms have become more resistant, particularly in the community and out of the hospital. Since your culture went to the laboratory, there should be a list of antibiotics which you can take for this. The treatment would be to take the course of antibiotics prescribed by your physician, keeping the wound as clean as possible with good wound care, and take probiotics.
It means the bacteria in your wound will not respond to treatment with many antibiotics. There are some antibiotics that may still eliminate the bacteria. Your doctor will have to review the test to determine what would work.
This means the bacteria recovered from your wound was co-cultured with several different antibiotics. The read-out for this test is called MIC, or minimum inhibitory concentration. The bacteria from your wound shows a pattern where the antibiotics, in their typical dose/concentration, are not inhibiting the growth of the bacteria in a culture dish. The best way to choose an antibiotic(s) to treat your infection is by using this test to see what antibiotics inhibit bacterial growth best.
I think it could be one of several things:

-That the bacteria is resistant to the antibiotic you are taking (or to one he wanted to give you)
-That your bacteria are resistant to many antibiotics, one like the multidrug-resistant bacteria often in the news

The best way to treat it? I cannot answer that, but skin infections, if not deep and not associated with cellulitis, may respond to topical wound care.

G. Dickinson
The doctor can ask for a test where they add different classes of antibiotics together. Testing synergy between different classes of antibiotics is one option used to determine efficacy of drug combinations for the treatment of multiply drug- resistant organisms. The problem is that this testing is not yet widely available and your doctor can empirically choose a combination of antibiotics that could work for you.