Europe which for the past few years have tried to pass the buck of growing antibiotic resistance to the medical tourism Industry in nations like India (which got the NDM-1 named after its capital New Delhi )is now staring at a full-blown “Superbug Epidemic ” owing to its own culture of self-prescription of antibiotics.
As per a statement released by the World Health Organisation , Regional Office for Europe which is titled rather scaringly as “Self-prescription of antibiotics boosts superbugs epidemic in the European Region “ two out of three nations in the Eastern part of European Region of the WHO antibiotics are obtained over the counter , without prescription of the doctors-thereby contributing signigcantly to this problem.The statement also states about the economic effects of this superbug epidemic claiming that the antibiotic resistance superbug infections are 100 times more costly to treat .
The situation indeed is grim in Europe- as much as in nations like India where such superbugs were first detected ,ironically by European researchers (Read more about it here ) . While in India and other developing nations the problem is about improper and irrational prescription of drugs and lack of hospital infection control measures and hence systematic in nature the European problem is entirely community based. It has got to do a lot with how Europeans who are self prescribing themselves antibiotics where none is required. (Is it to save the money of physician consultations in difficult times ? Or Is it due to improper health information being available to the educated Europeans is a thing to ponder over…maybe later in some other post)
” Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Viruses, which antibiotics do not affect, cause 9 out of 10 sore throats and 10 out of 10 cases of influenza “
But this simple fact is not communicated to the general populace-which should not be a really difficult task in Europe owing to its populace being educated. Cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhoea is now being reported from many European nations. Nation after nation in Europe is falling prey to carbapenam resistance only because people are popping pills at their own sweet will when none is required.
If not stopped now it might lead to the the
now unthinkable scenario of pre-antibiotic days
when people just died of infections.
With the world becoming smaller everyday with international travelling it is indeed going to be “one hell of a task “to map antibiotic use and resistance patterns and then measures to get control over it . However an sincere effort is being made in Europe and 18th November this year was observed as the European Antibiotic Awareness Day to counter the threat of antibiotic resistance to public health . Not only that a first of its kind a joint Twitter session was held jointly by eastern European , central Asian countries and the EU countries today afternoon.
Wondering What You should do ? Here is it ..
Image Courtesy: Invisible Worlds exhibition – 2012 © Copyright M J Richardson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) 2005 – 2012 which allows sharing of the images for creating awreness on this issue.
Suggested Readings : http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/eaad/Pages/toolkits.aspx