Antibiotics in Action


antibiotic - a chemical substance that interferes with a bacterium's ability to function normally.

antibiotic resistance - that state which results when an antibiotic is no longer effective or as effective in inhibiting or killing bacteria.

bacterium (singular) - bacteria (plural) - microscopic, single-celled organisms found in virtually any environment, usually less than one micrometer (one-thousandth of a millimeter) in length. A single bacterium divides to form two new bacteria containing an exact copy of the genetic information of the parent cell. Typical forms include rod-shaped (bacillus), round (coccus), and spiral (spirillum).

bacteremia - a severe infection, indicated by the presence of live bacteria circulating in the bloodstream.

bactericidal - action of an antibiotic that kills bacteria.

bacteristatic - action of an antibiotic that only inhibits the growth of bacteria.

enzyme - a protein molecule that facilitates biochemical reactions.

infection - invasion and multiplication by pathogenic or potentially pathogenic organisms.

pathogenic - causing or producing disease.

non-pathogenic - some bacteria do not cause human infections, and are normally present on the skin or in the gut of humans, where they render useful services, such as defending the host against infection or facilitating the absorption of certain nutrients through the intestine.

superbug - a non-medical term developed by the media to describe bacteria that have become resistant to almost all antibiotics.

Back to Top

Antibiotics in Action | Antibiotic Resistance | Reducing the Problem of Antibiotic Resistance