Antibiotics on Forum’s agenda

A microbiologist will give a talk on antibiotic resistance.
Friday, August 1, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:14 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

Penicillin, ciprofloxicin, and minocycline are just a few of the words that will be bombarding participants’ ears when Forum, an adult discussion group at the Unitarian Universalist Church, meets Sunday morning to learn about antibiotic resistance.

The group, whose weekly discussions are always open to the public, will be listening to a presentation by clinical microbiologist Marianne Erickson about how antibiotic resistance affects their everyday lives.

“We as consumers can be exposed to antibiotics unwillingly, unwittingly,” Erickson said. “This is a topic that has ramifications for the future of the environment, the future of health care and even the formation of public policy.”

Erickson explained antibiotic resistance as the tendency of some bacteria to resist the killing power of antibiotic or antimicrobial medications. These medications would be helpful to humans if a bacterial resistance to them was not already built up.

Erickson especially emphasized the need of consumers to be aware of their role in preventing increased antibiotic resistance.

“What people need to understand is that the whole issue of antibiotic resistance is not something that physicians or hospitals can control,” she said. “Important decisions are made at the consumer level.”

These decisions may extend from following a doctor’s orders to choosing which brand of poultry to buy.

Increased amounts of antibiotics in the food supply are one suspected source of increased antibiotic resistance, and incorrectly following a doctor’s dosage instructions while taking a prescription is another, Erickson explained.

George Parker, one of the founders of the volunteer-run discussion group, believes it’s important to discuss a variety of topics within the religious community.

Erickson, herself a member of the Unitarian church, said she considers the forum to be a place where life-long learners can discuss broad-based moral and ethical topics.

The Forum adult discussion group meets at 9 a.m. each Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Blvd. Different topics, ranging from science to culture, are discussed weekly. For more information, contact the church at 442-5764.

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