Antibiotics have been used to treat infectious diseases for several decades, and they’ve reduced illness and death from diseases. However, these drugs have been so widely used that the organisms they’re intended to kill have adapted through mutations, creating Superbugs. About 190 million doses of antibiotics are administered each day in hospitals. For non-hospitalized patients, 133 million courses of antibiotics are prescribed annually. Half of these prescriptions are unnecessary! Antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed in many cases to treat ailments usually caused by viruses and to treat ear infections. New Academy of Pediatrics guidelines (Feb. 2013) recommends that a child only be given antibiotics if he or she fails to improve within 48 to 72 hours.
One example of a Superbug that has formed is Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). This Superbug evades the strongest antibiotics, making infections almost untreatable, and it has a fatality rate of up to 50 percent. Another Superbug that has formed is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), a drug-resistant phenotype that has been circulating for over 45 years—almost as long as methicillin has been on the market.
What can we do to keep these and other Superbugs at bay? Just check out the infographic below presented by mphonline.org.