Madonna says “we are living in a material world” but the World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s much scarier than that. WHO warns of a horrifying post-antibiotic world. reported the BBC on Nov. 19. Antibiotics misuse has caused global superbug resistance to infection fighting drugs. Sound like something out of Ray Bradbury? Well, this isn’t a Twilight Zone sci-fi thriller–it’s Earth: 2015 where antibiotics resistance can and is turning common ailments into superbug killers. WHO adds that world-wide misunderstandings about illness and the role of antibiotics is causing this post-antibiotic world.
A worldwide WHO survey showed that 64 percent of those surveyed thought antibiotics should be used to treat common viruses. 66 percent believed there is no antibiotic resistance risk to those who take their antibiotics as prescribed. Almost half believed that only people who take drugs regularly could get a superbug, when in reality anyone, anywhere, of any age can get an antibiotic resistance. A third believed it was best to stop taking antibiotics as soon as they felt better, rather than completing the prescribed course. Uncompleted treatments increase antibiotic resistance and threaten patient recovery. And they create the frightening post-antibiotic world
Does this scare you? It scares WHO. Antibiotic resistance happens naturally as certain antibiotics like amoxycillin are too often prescribed and lose their efficacy. A superbug like MRSA is created when antibiotics have been used too long against an infection or too many people are infected with it (such as some rampant STDs). But overuse and misuse of antibiotics is rendering many of them useless, says WHO. So it’s not just patients who are responsible for this post-antibiotic world. It’s on doctors, too.
Some STDs, for example, are again at epidemic proportions. Currently they’re treatable by antibiotics but could wipe out the world if infections become immune to antibiotics. Minor injuries and non-serious infections could easily become deadly pandemic superbug killers like cholera, typhoid, bubonic plague. Why? Simply because doctors have wrongly prescribed antibiotics when they were contraindicated or an inappropriate method of treatment for the illness. It’s pretty common knowledge that the majority of viral infections don’t respond to antibiotics and that only bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Yet doctors often don’t do the requisite tests to determine whether an infection is viral or bacterial. So patients are causing antibiotic resistance when they use drugs they need them or in illnesses where they are ineffective. And when that happens, welcome to the post-antibiotic world.