India is dealing with a new epidemic of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”

India is dealing with a new epidemic of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”
Source: Holy Family Hospital

There’s a new epidemic in India – not of COVID, but antibiotic-resistant “superbugs." In plain speak, this means bacteria that have adapted to medicines and become resistant to the drugs supposed to get rid of them.

This is obviously a huge problem, and critics say it is because doctors in India were too loose with antibiotics. See, antibiotics are great for some things, but for others, they either don’t work or can have bad side effects. In fairness, Indian doctors weren’t necessarily doing this out of bad will but just because they didn’t have enough time to diagnose every patient that came through the door. And antibiotic cocktails were the easiest solution to many problems.

This new epidemic is scary, though. It means that lots of bacterial infections like E.coli, staphylococcus and even bacteria that leads to pneumonia are on the rise, and there aren’t as many resources to help patients.

Key comments:

“As almost all our patients cannot afford the higher antibiotics, they run the real risk of dying when they develop ventilator-associated pneumonia in the ICU," said Dr. SP Kalantri, the medical superintendent of the not-for-profit Kasturba Hospital in western India.

“The reason why this is alarming is that it is a great drug to treat sepsis [which is life threatening] and sometimes used as a first line of treatment in hospitals for very sick patients in ICUs," said Dr. Kamini Walia, an expert at the Indian Council of Medical Research and the author of a report that says resistance to a particularly powerful class of antibiotics has gone up 10% over the past year.