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The silent war against an

adverse enemy- Superbugs


Many of us dont know that mankind has been with constant war with our biggest most lucrative
enemy-yes,its not the aliens,its not a superpowered evil villain,but rather tiny microscopic
creatures we dont even see.
When you enter a hospital,you might think you are actually entering into a Green zone,the
smell of Dettol on floor,the white walls picturizing purity and cleanliness,and the presence of
doctors and nurses themselves gives you a feeling that you are in a No-fly zone.That you are
safe from those evil hidden creatures that give you a nasty fever - bacteria .
In fact,a hospital is a more dangerous place to be where you are more vulnerable to get
infected by the superbugs- a breed of bacteria which have developed resistance to the most
common antibiotics.
These bacteria are very alarming as they are quickly developing high resistance to antibiotics
like Penicilin,Methicilin,Tetracyclin,Erythromycin- which are like our missiles against them.
Superbugs could cast the world back to the Dark Ages if we are not careful, the British Prime
Minister David Cameroon was quoted saying.
Unrestricted availability and incomplete dosage are to be blamed says medical experts.
Mr X have a sore throat,and he goes to the pharmacy across the street and buy a pile of
penicillin.
Mr X takes a pill,but not enough to kill the streptococci but adequate to teach them how to resist
it. Then Mr X infects his wife,and she also takes penicillin from the local store,but since now the

bacteria knows how to beat the drug,they are unharmed and they continue multiplying inside
and can lead you to death. Who is responsible then?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a very well known example of how
superbugs have developed. Its found in hospitals and can pose a serious threat to patients with
weak immune system or under immuno-suprresant drugs.The bacteria is resistant to almost all
types of broad spectrum antibiotics available in stores. It caused over 37% deaths in hospitals in
the early 90s in UK hospitals. Scientists worked day and night to develop a new antibiotic,and
Oxalodinones was developed. But in 2001,MRSA developed resistance too. Its now one of the
most rapidly evolving bacteria we are fighting with,says experts.
How does resistance develops,you might ask.
Suppose there are 100 bacteria in your body. The doctor prescribes you some antibiotics like
Tetracyclin for over a period of 3 weeks. But after 2 weeks,you start feeling good as symptoms
disappear. You neglect doctors advice and avoid taking the drug. In the meantime,inside your
body,most of the bacteria have been eliminated and only a handful are left. As the dosage was
incomplete,those few bacteria remain unchecked and they start multiplying again quietly,until
symptoms appear again. But the next time you take the same drug,those few bacteria which
have grown into a colony no longer gets affected as they have developed resistance to it. This is
because in the first infection,suppose one survived because it had a gene in its DNA that gave
it a coat that prevented Tetracyclin attacking it and so it doesnt get killed by the Tetracyclin
antibiotic. That bacteria was previously kept in check due to competition amongst themselves
for food and shelter, but as now there is no competition,the particular resistant bacteria
multiplies freely,passing on the res and infection spreads from person to person,until the whole
population is infected with the resistant strain. Tetracyclin is useless now against it. The bacteria
in the same way develops resistance to other antibiotics until it is immune to almost all of our
arsenal of drugs. It has become a Superbug now.
Scientists now have to develop a new class of antibiotic which is extremely difficult and time
consuming. By the time a new antibiotic is developed,millions of people have died. And its not
soon the bacteria develops resistance to the new antibiotic too,should people carelessly
continue to use drugs.
Humans and bacteria are in a so called evolutionary race,at one side,we are panic-stricken to
produce a new drug to fight off the invading germs and on the other side we have these
pathogens who are developing resistance to whatever we throw at them. Its like an arms race,a
battle which has been raging on for millions of years according to scientists.The treatment of
bacterial infections with antibiotics is a crucial weapon in the armory of modern medicine,but
Recent studies have showed that combinedly given a antibiotics are an accelerating factor for
development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria to even a wider range.
Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing phenomenon in contemporary medicine and has
emerged as one of the pre-eminent public health concerns of the 21st century. More and more

bacteria are developing resistance to 1st line antibiotics,creating the necessity to use 2nd line
antibiotics,which are costlier,with more side effects and less available.
This is a serious issue in our country. Physicians prescribe antibiotics for viral diseases like
common cold,even though antibiotics are totally useless against a viral infection. The reasons
are social rather than scientific- patients insists on doctors to give them antibiotics as they feel
taking pills will cure them,even though the body can fight off the infection on its own.
Also,doctors are over cautious on their patients,and prescribe such antibiotics to prevent
secondary infections. There is a custom in Bangladeshi society,if the doctor doesnt give you a
pile of tests and some medicine,it means the doctor isnt a good doctor and diagnosis wasnt
done properly. Many doctors,are compelled to prescribe patients medicine which they dont
even require just to satisfy the patient that hes getting real treatment.
Antibiotic resistance poses an economic burden as it lengthens the duration of the
treatment,working hours are lost,more money of the patient is wasted in treatment and less
disposable income remains. A healthier economy is key to achieve high GDP growth
rates,experts say.