Indiscriminate and improper use of antibiotics is leading to drug resistance in microorganisms especially in bacteria leading to creation of super bugs. Currently, antibiotics are being used not only for treatment of human infections, but also as growth promoter in animals, poultry, fisheries and even some plants, etc. The bacteria causing diseases like typhoid, tuberculosis, malaria, urine infections, AIDS, etc., are turing into super bugs. Around the world, the super bugs are killing at least 7 lakh people every year and it may cross one crore by the year 2050. Recently, United Nations UN Organisation called for a special meeting to discuss exclusively this issue, which is one of the rare occasions in the history of UN. The worrying factor is the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from the resistant microbes to even to helpful bacteria like lactic acid bacteria, which are used for the preparation of fermented food products like curds, cheese making, etc. In turn, these resistance genes are entering into the commensal microbes in the gut through horizontal gene transfer process, thus the commensal microbes become resistant to these antibiotics. As per the Director General of World Health Organization (WHO), only 2 new antibiotics were discovered in the past 50 years. The common ailments may become tough with the increasing resistance to antibiotics. It may have a drastic effect on the world GDP, which may come down to 3.5% by the year 2050. This may affect mainly poor people and poor countries. To reduce the use of antibiotics, we should keep the infections away by maintaining good hygiene. As the microorganisms spread from one person to other easily via cross contamination process, frequent washing of hands should be practised without fail, especially after visiting a hospital. Antibiotics should not be used without the prescription of a doctor and should complete the course without discontinuation, even the symptoms of the disease disappear.
Dr S V N Vijayendra, Mysuru