A super bug is a microorganism that does not have many treatment solutions when it comes to medications, or is resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungals.
Superbugs cause infections that are difficult to treat. Also, the proportion of these bugs, especially in the hospital environment has increased and there are few medications in the pipeline to combat this situation. Thus, making the chances of successfully treating a patient low.
Additionally, there are various other illnesses that are showing up like the monkeypox. But it is important to understand that these so-called new viruses were always there, especially in animals and it had just not reached humans.
The reason for the rise and transmission of these viruses to humans is due to migration of the population; destruction of forests to create more houses and industries; declining health and immune conditions due to change in the eating patterns; and climate change effects.
The unscrupulous use of antibiotics in the last decade has sparked an increase and emergence in new organisms and resistant bugs. With the improvement in medical sciences there is an increase in the geriatric population.
These elderly populations are usually vulnerable as characteristically their defense systems are weaker, making them a vulnerable target for some organisms that otherwise would have been harmless to the younger population.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created a unique issue for humanity. The pandemic prevented the common public from getting the usual vaccinations like measles due to imposed lockdown, absence of supplies and a general fear of stepping out of the house.
This has led to the resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles.
By principle of evolution, all these factors described are likely to stimulate microorganisms to mutate and perhaps become more virulent, transmissible, and evasive.
It is important to understand that laboratory and diagnostic sciences have also progressed immensely, and we are able to diagnose many more pathogens that we couldn’t in the past.
(Dr Saseedharan is Consultant and Head, Critical Care, SL Raheja Hospital in Mahim, Mumbai)
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