Antibiotic resistance rapidly spreading around the world
Originally published on The Indian Awaaz
A super bug resistant to all known antibiotics is spreading undetected through hospital wards across the world, according to scientists. The bacteria, known as Staphylococcus epidermidis, is related to the better-known and more-deadly MRSA.
Found naturally on human skin, it most commonly infects the elderly or patients who have had prosthetic materials implanted, such as catheters and joint replacements. The bacteria can cause “severe” infections or even death over time.
Many of the most powerful antibiotics are extremely expensive and even toxic, and the team behind the study said that the practice of using multiple drugs at once to prevent resistance may not be working. The World Health Organization (WHO) has long warned of antibiotic overuse sparking new strains of killer, drug-resistant bacteria.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Antibiotics are different from all other classes of drugs in a very important way: the more a person usesm them, the less effective they can become. For a country like India, where over-prescription and misuse of antibiotics is rampant, it is only a matter of time before the resistant bacteria win.Several of these medicines can be obtained without a prescription. What further complicates theproblem is inequalities in access to medicine and poor sanitation services. And when farmers use antibiotics to speed the growth of chickens and other livestock, drug-resistant germs find newways to enter the environment.”
In 2017, the WHO classified antibiotics into three groups to address these challenges. The bodyalso issued guidance for how each class of drugs should be used to treat 21 of the most commoninfections.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “Doctors as well as patients should be aware of and advocate judicious use of antibiotics. Over-prescription and self-prescription, both, need to be checked. One of the biggest reasons for the misuse of antibiotics isbuying them over-the-counter without consultation with a doctor. Before prescribing antibiotics,always ask yourself: Is it necessary? What is the most effective antibiotic? What is the mostaffordable antibiotic? What is the most effective dose? What is the most effective duration forwhich the antibiotic should be administered?”