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Free Essay on Antibiotics

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The meningococcal disease is a severe and uncommon disease caused by the germ, ‘Meningococcus’, and attacks the body from either the throat or nose. The disease occurs in two main forms: Meningococcal Meningitis, when Meningococcus infect the outer lining around the brain and spinal cord, or Meningococcal Septicaemia, when Meningococcus invade the blood stream and poison the blood. ( 15/06/03). The disease also splits up into 13 different serotypes, the five most common ones being A, B, C, W135 and Y.

When a person contracts Meningococcal Meningitis, meningococci are transferred to membrane-bound phagocytic vacuoles. They then settle on mucosal surfaces which results in infection and the mild symptoms; headaches, fever and joint/muscular pains. The meningococci may then be killed off by bacterial antibodies and phagocytes or multiply rapidly and cause further infection or enter the blood-stream and cause Meningococcal Septicaemia. ( 19/06/03).

At the current moment there are two ways of combating four of the five most common serotypes, and that is with the use of Antibiotics and Vaccines. Unfortunately, all serotypes except strain B are able to be prevented with the use of a vaccine.

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Vaccines, prevent the occurrence or reoccurrence of specific meningococcal strains. There are two types of vaccines offered to stop the spread:

– Polysaccharide: Is typically used for the serotypes A, C, W135 and Y and only lasts for a few years.

– Conjugate: Is only used for the serotype C and provides immunity against the strain for life.

Antibiotics prevent the spread of the meningococcal germ by eliminating the meningococcus from the nose and throat regions of infected people for a short period of time. People can be a host to this germ and still remain healthy because they have built up some sort of an immunity to that particular strain. When this host sneezes or coughs it is spread to others who have not built up an immunity to the particular strain and therefore they become sick. If an antibiotic is given to a person who is infected with the meningococcal disease within the early stages of the disease, then the probability of living is high. There are two antibiotics available for the prevention of and stop of the disease spreading:

– Benzypenicillin

– Chloramphenicol

As only serotypes A and C have a vaccine able to stop and prevent the replication of the meningococci organism, the team of experts willing to supply their time and effort in developing a cure, will have to create a vaccine for the serotype B, which is the most common type of the Meningococcal Disease in Australia.

Research will first have to be done on the coating of the serotype B strain of the meningococcal organism. If a new vaccine is to be successful, the serotype in the vaccine must be a match to the serotype that is naturally occurring within the meningococcal organism.

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