A Second, Silent Pandemic: Antibiotic Resistance
Recent studies have shown a worrying overuse of antibiotics while treating COVID-19 patients, despite low co-infection rates. Globally, around 80% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients receive prophylactic antibiotics, which could lead to a rise in drug-resistant infections. And in places like Lebanon, COVID-19 has contributed to a rollback of antibiotic regulations, making it once again possible to access a wide range of antibiotics without prescription.
A second, silent pandemic is spreading before our eyes as more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. If we continue down the current path, routine procedures like a caesarean operation or a joint replacement will one day become be too risky to perform. The lives of cancer patients and others who undergo treatments that depress the immune system will equally be threatened.
We can stop the spread of resistance. Now is the time to re-establish or strengthen antibiotic stewardship programs to prevent misuse and overuse, and to ensure antibiotics are taken responsibly to effectively treat bacterial infections.
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