Health officials are alarmed at the evolution of causal organisms of hitherto common diseases into 'superbugs'. This, they warn is the result of overzealous use of antibiotics.
One such example is the recent announcement by the U.S Centers For Disease Control (CDC) that gonorrhea has now become resistant to the antibiotic fluoroquinolones. The only line of treatment left is cephalosporins; a fact, which is creating worry lines on many a health expert.
Says Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention:"There is an urgent need for new, effective medicines to treat gonorrhea. We are running out of options to treat this serious disease. Increased vigilance in monitoring for resistance to all available drugs is essential."
So, where lies the problem?
Antibiotics are one of the most profound achievements in medicine, but decades of widespread and indiscriminate use in cosmetics and soaps and food animal production, has rendered many ineffective.
The practice goes on.
One such example is that last month, the Food and Drug Administration, despite warnings from its own experts and health groups, gave the green light to treating cattle with an antibiotic; the fourth generation version of the one the CDC now urges for gonorrhea.
Though the company that makes this antibiotic argued that similar drugs have been used in animals in Europe without harm, recent data indicates that bacteria resistance has grown not only in livestock but in humans as well.
Both the Government and private health organizations seem to agree that careful, limited use of antibiotics is crucial to public health, as microbes become more and more resistant to them. Still, the spread of gonorrhea is one indication of a thought yet to be put, into action.