ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS 2Different Types of Antimicrobial AgentsThere are four basic categories of antimicrobial agents: antibacterials, antivirals, antiparasitics, and antifungals. Their names really describe what they treat—bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungus infections. The term “antibiotic” is a general phrase that encompasses medications that treat bacteria, fungus, and parasites. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses and antivirals are needed to specifically treat these infections (Arcangelo & Peterson, 2013). There are two types of antibiotics that are commonly available: bactericidal and bacteriostatic antibiotics. Bactericidal antibiotics will kill the bacteria whereas bacteriostatic will inhibit the bacteria in some way. Antibiotics can be classified as broad spectrum, narrow spectrum, or limited spectrum antibiotics. Broad spectrum antibiotics will treat a wide range of infections (i.e. can treat Gram positive andGram negative bacteria). Narrow spectrum antibioticsare used to treat a more specific group of bacteria (i.e. can onlytreat Gram negative bacteria). And limited spectrum antibiotics can only treat a specific bacterium and is not effective beyond that individual bacteria (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2016). Antivirals are medications that help treat viral infections. A common antiviral medication is Tamiflu—the medication used to treat the Influenza virus. The aim for most antivirals is to inhibit cellular reproduction of the virus, not necessarily kill the virus itself. Since it is difficult tokill a virus the goal of antivirals is to interfere with the virus’s replication process, thereby rendering the virus ineffective and allowing the host to fight off the infection (Gallagher, 2009).