The silent pandemic of antibiotic resistance
Southern Africa has long been burdened by the scourges of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, but a new and more silent pandemic has now taken hold: antimicrobial resistance.
In my hospital ward, we recently admitted a 39-year old man with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and kidney failure who had stopped his HIV treatment some months before. His tuberculosis was treated with seven different drugs and started to respond but after eight days his temperature spiked, his blood pressure dropped and we identified extensively drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria in his blood. The only option was colistin, an antibiotic of last resort, but he continued to deteriorate and succumbed to overwhelming infection.
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