Antibiotics are essential in combating many bacterial infections. They enable doctors to treat conditions such as pneumonia or sepsis, and they help protect vulnerable patients who have a chronic disease, are undergoing chemotherapy (for cancer) or who have just had an operation.
Resistance to antibiotics – or antibiotic resistance – is the ability of certain bacteria to adapt so that they can resist the action of antibiotics. People themselves do not become resistant to antibiotics, only bacteria can. The resistant bacteria can then move from one person to another and make treatment more difficult, longer and even impossible in some cases.