Antibiotic resistance and the threat to human health
Have spent past week working on a scientific paper looking at antibiotic resistance trends in Japan. This has been thought provoking work. I started wondering if this is the time-bomb waiting to go off in terms of human health. Scares such as SARS and AVIAN FLU hit the headlines for a while, but then the media finds another scare story and we move on forgetting that our over-reliance on antibiotics in farming and in treating minor illnesses is possibly not the correct approach. Personally I avoid taking medicines unless it is a last resort, but not all of us are so reluctant to get a prescription, take a few pills and then when we feel better, forget to finish the course of treatment. I was intrigued to find the group Antibiotic Action online. This group has serious concerns regarding the future effectiveness of currently available antibiotics and the lack of antibiotic agents in the drug pipeline. It seems that BSAC (British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy) is carrying out national surveillance on resistance to antibiotics. The survey findings can be found online and do not make for reassuring reading. So, if you are reading this, please don’t rush to the surgery every time you have a cough or a minor illness. And if you do have to take antibiotics, please take the entire course.