#1 Drug-Defying Germs From India Speed Post-Antibiotic Era05-07-2012, 10:43 PM
By Jason Gale and Adi Narayan - May 7, 2012 4:00 PM CT
Bloomberg Markets Magazine
Lill-Karin Skaret, a 67-year-old grandmother from Namsos, Norway, was traveling to a lakeside vacation villa near India’s port city of Kochi in March 2010 when her car collided with a truck. She was rushed to the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, her right leg broken and her artificial hip so damaged that replacing it required 12 hours of surgery.
Three weeks later and walking with the aid of crutches, Skaret was relieved to be home. Then her doctor gave her upsetting news. Mutant germs that most antibiotics can’t kill had entered her bladder, probably from a contaminated hospital catheter in India. She risked a life-threatening infection if the bacteria invaded her bloodstream -- a waiting game over which she had limited control, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its June issue.
“I got a call from my doctor who told me they found this bug in me and I had to take precautions,” Skaret remembers. “I was very afraid.”
Skaret was lucky. Eventually, her body rid itself of the bacteria, and she escaped harm from a new type of superbug that scientists warn is spreading faster, further and in more alarming ways than any they’ve encountered. Researchers say the epicenter is India, where drugs created to fight disease have taken a perverse turn by making many ailments harder to treat.
India’s $12.4 billion pharmaceutical industry manufactures almost a third of the world’s antibiotics, and people use them so liberally that relatively benign and beneficial bacteria are becoming drug immune in a pool of resistance that thwarts even high-powered antibiotics, the so-called remedies of last resort.
05-09-2012, 03:53 PM
India has been slowly emerging from third-world status over the past 20-30 years. I wonder if the overuse of antibiotics is a result of the desire of their government and medical establishment to rid the country of the diseases that are associated with overpopulation and poverty.
When my dad visited India for 6 weeks in the 70s, when they were still fully a third world nation, he came bag jaundiced, and so did some of the other guys who went with him. Although he stayed with wealthy Indians when he was there, he saw a lot of the conditions around New Dehli, and saw a lot of hungry and sick people-lepers, the untouchable caste, among others. It would be very tempting for a government and medical establishment to overuse antibiotics to address immediate health risks without considering the long-term implications. We in the west just started realizing the problems with over-using antibiotics within the past 20 years.
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