Run For Your Lives!


Onovu Otitigbe-Dangerfield, Staff Writer

The phrase “ RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” poses an obvious question: “from what, exactly?” Global warming, the flu, natural disasters… how about superbugs? Interestingly named, the  term “superbug” is utilized to describe those strains of bacteria that are resistant to a majority of the antibiotics commonly used today. As a result, we are susceptible to various  infections such as pneumonia and skin infections.

A critical analysis of the dangers that superbugs impose involve the realization that antibiotic resistance is a process that can be prolonged but not stopped. Essentially this means that specific strains of bacteria will possess the ability to adapt to the drugs designed to kill them and, in essence, survive in spite of it. While this means a thriving population for them, it also means a declining effectiveness of the measures taken by medical professionals to treat bacterial infections.

Antimicrobial resistance is posing a threat to our global society as a result of our misuse of antibiotics according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This trend is occurring not only with bacteria but also among viruses, fungi and parasites. This reality is something that many have attempted to ignore but is not something we can’t anymore. Humans are losing their ability to protect themselves from infection!

Dr. Marc Sprenger, the director of WHO, refers to this phenomenon as the “silent tsunami”. Various organizations such as WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Organization for Animal Health have all worked to develop a global action plan since  2015. Statistics indicate the extent of efforts being pursued to combat this development, as more than 90% of the people in the world live in a country with a national action plan against antimicrobial resistance. Unfortunately, this is not present in  low-income countries, which are more likely to face the negative repercussions of superbugs, as infectious diseases are more common and they have weaker health systems.

Despite these travesties, through the usage of good clinical practice, immunization, and sanitation improvements it is possible to reduce this resistance. Improvements in the distribution of drugs and how they are monitored will also be helpful.

You might be wondering how any of this is applicable to you? To protect yourself from harmful bacteria, wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a proper diet, proper food handling, getting enough exercise and establishing good sleeping patterns, also can minimize the risk of illness. While all of this sounds like basic life skills, it can be the difference between life and death.