This is a special cartoon that was created in support of World Microbiome Day that aims to engage the public in all matters microbiome. This year’s theme is antimicrobial resistance and this image aims to capture the different ways in which antibiotic misuse can affect the bacteria in your body.
Antibiotics are incredibly effective at treating potentially very harmful infections, however the use of antibiotics can also affect the normal, beneficial bacteria that live in your body. Some bacteria – that are potentially harmful – can carry antibiotic resistance genes and are not eliminated by antibiotics. These genes can be shared between bacteria (like umbrellas between people), creating an increased number of bacteria that do not respond to antibiotics. If antibiotics are used when they are not necessary, these resistant bacteria can thrive and potentially cause harm.