Biology: Middle School: Grades 6, 7 and 8 Quiz - Resistance of Pathogens to Antibiotics (Questions)

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In centuries past, millions of people died because of diseases spread by pathogens. Two scientific discoveries have helped to prevent the vast majority of these deaths - vaccines and antibiotics. Today we face a new threat - strains of bacteria which have formed a resistance to antibiotics. This middle school Biology quiz looks at some of these bacteria, how they spread and what we can do to stop them.

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Pathogens include bacteria, viruses and fungi which are capable of causing diseases. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, but it took 12 more years until a method was found that could be used to produce it in sufficient quantities to be used in hospitals. It came in time to save the lives of many WWII soldiers who would have otherwise died because their wounds became infected. Since penicillin, scientists have developed many other antibiotics to target certain types of pathogens - namely, specific strains of bacteria. Antibiotics do not destroy viruses or fungi.

In recent times, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria have appeared which pose a threat to human health as they are very difficult to kill. The usual example of this is the MRSA bacterium in hospitals. This has developed a resistance to antibiotics but can be controlled by good hygiene - visitors to hospital wards are required to use a special alcohol based hand cleanser when entering and leaving a ward and regular use of bleach or other disinfectants when cleaning hospitals keep this dangerous bacterium under control.

But how do these resistant strains of bacteria arise? Firstly, there is the overuse of antibiotics. At one time, doctors would prescribe antibiotics 'just in case'. In other words, if a patient did not show signs of having a bacterial infection, they would still prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. This allowed bacteria plenty of opportunity to mutate and develop a resistance.

Secondly, a course of antibiotics usually lasts from 7 - 10 days. Normally by day 3 or 4, you start to feel a lot better as the majority of the bacteria have been killed and some people then stop taking them. But the most resistant bacteria are still in your system and the rest of the course is designed to kill as many of these as possible leaving the remaining bacteria to be killed by your own immune system. Stopping taking a course of antibiotics early leaves too many of these resistant bacteria for your system to fully destroy and they can then be passed on to other people.

1. Antibiotic resistance can lead to what?
[ ] New viral strains
[ ] Bacteria which are immune to antibiotics
[ ] Viruses which are resistant to antibiotics
[ ] New strains of bacteria which cannot be destroyed
2. What do we call individual pathogens which antibiotics can kill?
[ ] Pathogens which are non-resistant
[ ] Pathogens which are non-immune
[ ] Pathogens which are non-pathogenic
[ ] Pathogens which are non-living
3. Individual pathogens survive, reproduce and can form new strains by which process?
[ ] The process of natural selection
[ ] The process of natural wastage
[ ] The process of unnatural means
[ ] The process of sexual reproduction
4. How have doctors tried to reduce antibiotic resistance?
[ ] By prescribing more antibiotics
[ ] By prescribing weaker antibiotics
[ ] By prescribing fewer antibiotics
[ ] By not giving antibiotics at all
5. Which of the following would be the usual medical advice for a sore throat?
[ ] Take antibiotics
[ ] Bed rest, fluids and antibiotics
[ ] Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary
[ ] Pain killers, antibiotics and throat spray
6. Why can it be dangerous if you do not complete your course of antibiotics?
[ ] The bacteria may all die
[ ] Not all of the bacteria are killed so the infection continues
[ ] The remaining bacteria may become resistant
[ ] You become immune to the antibiotic
7. What does MRSA stand for?
[ ] Medically resistant susceptible antibiotics
[ ] Methicillin-resistant Streptococcus antibodies
[ ] Multiple resistant Staphylococcus aureus
[ ] Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
8. Resistance to antibiotics in bacteria is controlled by what?
[ ] Hormones
[ ] White blood cells
[ ] Genes
[ ] Viruses
9. Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria spread quickly. Why is this?
[ ] Because they have a selective advantage and are better adapted
[ ] Because they are not adapted to survive
[ ] Because they have lower optimum temperature
[ ] Because they do not grow in the presence of the antibiotic
10. How have we slowed down the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
[ ] By ignoring the problem
[ ] With more careful prescribing of antibiotics
[ ] By banning antibiotics
[ ] By inventing new painkillers
Biology: Middle School: Grades 6, 7 and 8 Quiz - Resistance of Pathogens to Antibiotics (Answers)
1. Antibiotic resistance can lead to what?
[ ] New viral strains
[ ] Bacteria which are immune to antibiotics
[ ] Viruses which are resistant to antibiotics
[x] New strains of bacteria which cannot be destroyed
Dangerous strains of bacteria are possible due to antibiotic resistance
2. What do we call individual pathogens which antibiotics can kill?
[x] Pathogens which are non-resistant
[ ] Pathogens which are non-immune
[ ] Pathogens which are non-pathogenic
[ ] Pathogens which are non-living
Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria only but some will kill infections of single celled parasites like Giardia
3. Individual pathogens survive, reproduce and can form new strains by which process?
[x] The process of natural selection
[ ] The process of natural wastage
[ ] The process of unnatural means
[ ] The process of sexual reproduction
Bacteria reproduce rapidly. Amongst the new generations, there will be some bacteria whose genes have mutated - natural selection does the rest
4. How have doctors tried to reduce antibiotic resistance?
[ ] By prescribing more antibiotics
[ ] By prescribing weaker antibiotics
[x] By prescribing fewer antibiotics
[ ] By not giving antibiotics at all
Doctors prescribe antibiotics only when the body has not been able to fight off a bacterial infection on its own
5. Which of the following would be the usual medical advice for a sore throat?
[ ] Take antibiotics
[ ] Bed rest, fluids and antibiotics
[x] Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary
[ ] Pain killers, antibiotics and throat spray
Honey can help soothe a sore throat, your immune system deals with the infection
6. Why can it be dangerous if you do not complete your course of antibiotics?
[ ] The bacteria may all die
[ ] Not all of the bacteria are killed so the infection continues
[x] The remaining bacteria may become resistant
[ ] You become immune to the antibiotic
Resistant bacteria cannot be killed using antibiotics
7. What does MRSA stand for?
[ ] Medically resistant susceptible antibiotics
[ ] Methicillin-resistant Streptococcus antibodies
[ ] Multiple resistant Staphylococcus aureus
[x] Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Soap and water, alcohol based hand gels and bleach can all destroy this dangerous bacteria
8. Resistance to antibiotics in bacteria is controlled by what?
[ ] Hormones
[ ] White blood cells
[x] Genes
[ ] Viruses
Scientists are constantly developing new antibiotics to deal with these resistant strains of bacteria
9. Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria spread quickly. Why is this?
[x] Because they have a selective advantage and are better adapted
[ ] Because they are not adapted to survive
[ ] Because they have lower optimum temperature
[ ] Because they do not grow in the presence of the antibiotic
It is for this reason that antibiotics should only be prescribed when absolutely necessary - the fewer strains of resistant bacteria, the better
10. How have we slowed down the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
[ ] By ignoring the problem
[x] With more careful prescribing of antibiotics
[ ] By banning antibiotics
[ ] By inventing new painkillers
Resistant strains are encouraged to develop by the overuse of antibiotics