Objective: To discuss and analyze whether "Western" ideologies and cultural practices of overusing antibiotics are leading to an emergence/re-emergence of infectious diseases and if it is so to find out remedial measures to curb the situation.
Introduction: The emergence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection causing the disease acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and its killer sequels have brought into focus the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases.
Further, all three were amenable to antibiotics/anti-fungal drugs and easily managed. The emergence of resistant and virulent strains of organisms causing them juxtaposed with the acutely debilitating AIDS is making them virtual killer diseases.
Staggering Statistics: According to a press release by the American College of Physicians in July 2000, the annual consumption of antibiotics in the United States was $ 15 billion and the cost of treating antibiotic resistant diseases was at least $ 1.3 billion. Even if the consumption were to grow at a modest 10% every year, the figures would be a staggering $ 24 billion and $ 2.09 billion in 2005. There were, in one year, 51 million visits to physicians for cold, upper respiratory tract infections and bronchitis and in these visits 50%-66% were prescribed antibiotics even though these conditions usually do not need antibiotics. It was possible that the physicians prescribed more powerful antibiotics than needed or prescribed antibiotics for viral infections, for which they were useless. ...