Antibiotic Sensitivity Test

Topic Overview

An antibiotic sensitivity (or susceptibility) test is done to help choose the antibiotic that will be most effective against the specific types of bacteria or fungus infecting an individual person.

Some types of bacteria or fungus are resistant to certain antibiotics because of differences in their genetic material (genes). Infections caused by resistant bacteria or fungi are not cured by treatment with those antibiotics.

Drug-resistant bacteria or fungi usually develop because the entire course of antibiotic treatment was not completed. Stopping drug treatment early kills only the bacteria or fungi that are sensitive to the drugs, allowing the resistant bacteria or fungi to multiply and cause an infection.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Joseph F. O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology

Current as ofOctober 9, 2017

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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