The Dangers of Antibiotic Misuse

Few days back a woman shifted from one of the big hospitals in Chennai to our hospital for further care; She was infected with multidrug resistant Klebsiella pneumonia - What we Doctors call a "night mare superbug" that showed resistance to all antibiotics on earth. She died finally from multi-organ failure & sepsis.

It is just fact of evolution-the more antibiotics that are around, the more bacteria has been exposed to it, the more opportunity they have, to acquire their resistance. India is a notorious hot bed for Antibiotic resistance. 2016 study showed that the evolution of the superbug because of over prescribing & unregulated use of antibiotics, antibiotics used in agriculture & lack of regulation of availability of antibiotics sold in local pharmacies.

One thing everyone should remember is that the superbug exists globally. It is a problem rearing its ugly head in China, South Africa, and even in US hospitals. But what makes India the global breeding ground for the problem is the extent & degree of the factors that fuel the Superbug.

The culture in India is to lean on Antibiotics for most illnesses even if there is low chance they are due to bacteria. Normal myth of public is any fever or loose motion, you need antibiotics. Antibiotics are taken as medicine for fever. In India, antibiotics are available in all medical shops where people can get without any question or prescription. Sometimes if people go to the Doctor and they don't prescribe antibiotics, the patient goes to the shop to buy antibiotics as they are not satisfied with the treatment without antibiotics. This myth is not only among the poor but also among the literate rich people.

One study from the Center for Disease dynamics, Economics & policy in 2016 showed that there are many dying in rural areas because of lack of access to antibiotics while others in urban settings are using them rampantly. This is a serious issue.

So next time when you get fever or sore throat before taking antibiotics think twice. Kindly follow your doctor's advice for antibiotics. Please spread your knowledge to stop antibiotic abuse. This way we can keep our nation & environment safer for future generations.

Article by Dr. Susovan Mitra, MBBS, MD (Emergency Medicine) MEM, Dip. Emergency Medicine, Fellowship in Critical Care Medicine
Intensive Care Physician, Kauvery Hospital

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