First words, first steps, the first kiss…. Only one thing is as valuable to us as the things we do for the first time and that is the things we do for the last time—the last steps, the last kiss, the final words…. How would we do things if we knew that we were doing them for the last time? For example, what uses would we keep certain medicines for if we only had a few left?
Every day until November 18, we will post a comic strip with recommendations about the steps all of us can take to fight antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is just part of the more far-reaching phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance—the ability of certain microorganisms to survive the attacks of the drugs we use to eliminate them. This ability to evolve and grow stronger is found in viruses, such as those that cause AIDS and influenza A, and in parasites, such as the protozoa that cause malaria, and particularly in bacteria. Some bacteria are multidrug resistant, that is, resistant to several different antibiotic agents. Some are even resistant to all the antibiotics we have today (pandrug-resistant). And they all have the names of supervillains: Acinetobacter, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphylococcus aureus.
Despite their microscopic size, the so-called superbugs are a grave threat to humanity. A report from the World Health Organisation puts it like this, “Without urgent and coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill”. The figures are certainly alarming; it is estimated that every year drug resistance is responsible for over 38,000 deaths in Thailand, 25,000 in the European Union, and 23,000 in the United States.
The future augured by the superbugs seems closer to apocalyptic fiction than reality. To reflect this situation of exceptional risk, we have decided to turn to the superheroes. Starting today, and every day until European Antibiotic Awareness Day on November 18, we will post a comic strip with recommendations about the steps all of us can take to ensure that there will never be a ‘last time’ for these drugs that save so many lives.
Drawings: Albert Tworents