A major problem with the overuse of antibiotics is the emergence of strains of bacterial pathogens that are resistant to them, reducing their effectiveness in the treatment of human illness. The constant exposure to antibiotics in quantities too low to kill all the bacteria results in weaker strains being eliminated and more resistant strains going on to reproduce. Eventually the population of microbes evolves to be highly resistant, rendering the antibiotic ineffective.
Increasing antimicrobial resistance is presenting challenges to caregivers trying to rid resistant ‘superbugs’ such as c. difficile from hospitals and other care facilities across the country. Some experts suggest over prescription of antibiotics in treating human illness is contributing to the problem, but another potential source of resistance is the overuse of antibiotics by factory farming operations.