There was a time when minor scratches or skin infections could lead to death. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that such a time might be on our hands again, soon. It might be a crisis worse than AIDS, they claim. Some even call it the real-life version of a Zombie Apocalypse!
Humanity is battling deadly pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. The problem has reportedly already caused 25 million deaths worldwide!
According to a news story in the New York Times, more than 58,000 new born kids in India died last year because they developed infections that none of the antibiotics could treat.
The problem, however, just seems to be starting. WHO warns that the public should anticipate more such deaths as people are at risk of dying from infections that were previously considered treatable.
In a healthy human, bacteria makes up nearly three percent of the body’s mass, and aids bodily functions. The immune system keeps most bacteria in check and prevents them from spiralling out of control. However, they are constantly reproducing.
Antibiotics are unlike any other kind of medicine because the more we use them, the less effective they become. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but bacteria are fast learners. The more an antibiotic is prescribed, the faster the bacteria becomes resistant to it.
When Alexander Fleming developed Penicillin in 1928, he warned of such consequences. The West heeded the warning and uses them rarely, the East has not, hence the consequences.
Doctors say that one reason for this epidemic is the uncontrolled prescription of antibiotics across the world. A study conducted by Princeton University found that worldwide antibiotic usage rose by 36% over 10 years from 2000 to 2010. India emerged as the largest consumer of antibiotics as here the usage rose by 62%.
Developing countries, say experts, are at a higher risk than other nations of people dying from antibiotic resistant infections. In fact, a strain first identified in India — NDM1 – has now spread across the world, according to a report published in the New York Times.
Some health experts say that these ‘killer bugs’ are largely confined to hospitals, where heavy use of antibiotics leads to localized colonies. And these strains, through the way of hospital sewage, are transported to water bodies and further to people’s homes.
Another reason that is being considered a major cause is the administration of antibiotics to farm animals like chicken and cattle. The drugs given to them are usually not enough to kill off the disease, but makes the bacteria resistant to that antibiotic and allows it to flourish inside the body of the host. When these animals are consumed by humans, they enter the body and wreak havoc.
Modern science, unfortunately, spells doom for the very species it seeks to protect. The only option left with us is to find ways that can help us protect ourselves from such infections. Since time immemorial our ancestors have turned to nature for all the answers. Now it is time for us to follow in their footsteps and find solutions to our problems. Ayurved and Yog are the key, but then a Guru has to be carefully identified.