The rampant use of antibiotics for the last 10 years by doctors as well as due to over-the-counter sale has led to a serious health care crisis across the country. According to health experts, treating gram-negative infections — which affects hospitalised patients mostly — is getting difficult because the category of bacteria is evolving and becoming ever more immune to existing antibiotics.
The bacteria, classified as gram-negative because of their reaction to the so-called gram stain test, can cause severe pneumonia and infections of the urinary tract, bloodstream and other parts of the body. Their cell structure makes them more difficult to attack with antibiotics than gram-positive organisms, like MRSA.
Dr Om Shrivastava, infectious disease expert at Jaslok Hospital, said, "Presently, the gram-negative infections are the biggest concern when it comes to antibiotic resistance problem. This not only leads to prolonged hospital stay but also leads to treatment cost going up along with recurrent hospital stay."
It is a known fact that doctors often prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics to sick patients as they have to act quickly on imperfect information. These methods put selective pressure on microbes to evolve resistance to antibiotics. In the recent past, data has revealed a six-fold increase in the number of antibiotics being popped by Indians.
Dr Khusrav Bajan, intensivist from PD Hinduja Hospital, said, "Community-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infections and typhoid are the three diseases whose treatment is getting affected the most because of increasing number of people developing resistance to antibiotics."
Last April, World Health Organization (WHO), in its first global report on antibiotic resistance, said it is a serious and worldwide threat to public health. Even the US's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention ranked resistance to antibiotics in these categories: urgent, serious, and concerning.
To stop the rampant use of antibiotics by doctors, Indian Medical Association, the umbrella body of doctors practising allopathy, has started a campaign on rational use of antibiotics under which it is going to educate its own doctors. It is found that many doctors don't justifiably prescribe antibiotics, which has led to people developing resistance to antibiotics.