27 September, 2020

The Bugs Just Got Bugsier

The overuse of antibiotics has created a crisis of microbial resistance—the drugs aren’t working

Illustration by Saahil
The Bugs Just Got Bugsier
outlookindia.com
2016-06-17T21:51:54+05:30

Fever, flu, bodyache, nausea? Popped a few pills? Nothing may happen. Antibiotics, the bedrock of modern medical practice, may be rendered ineffective so soon that even minor infections (from say, an abrasion) could leave you fighting for your life and surgeries that are taken for granted now, such as knee replacements or organ transplants, could prove fatal. Every medical procedure depending on antibiotics to fight attendant infections could bec­ome compromised owing to microbes developing resistance to antibiotics. It’s a global predicament and in India, where alm­ost any medication is buyable without prescription, we are approaching an alarming tipping-point.

The appearance and rapid spread of anti­biotic-resistant bacteria has seriously impaired the arsenal usually deployed against them. The culprit is the irrational use of antibiotics—as much thro­ugh faulty or mindless prescription and the use of combination drugs as through rampant prescription-less ingestion. As random mutations occur in bacteria, some strains develop resistance to...

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