KUALA LUMPUR: Chris (not her real name) went to see a doctor for a sore throat and he gave her antibiotics without even knowing whether the cause was bacterial or viral.
According to Sungai Buloh Medical Department head and consultant infectious diseases physician Datuk Dr Christopher Lee, 85% of sore throats were from viral infection and patients did not need antibiotics.
“Doctors need to be judicious in giving antibiotics and use clinical tools such as the Centor score to gauge whether patients have a bacterial sore throat,” he said, warning that antibiotic-resistant bacteria or superbugs could affect everyone.
He said that if patient A, loaded with normal bacteria and a small amount of resistant bacteria (superbug) as a result of previous history of overusing antibiotics, came in and was given regular antibiotics for the normal bacteria, he might be well for a while as the antibiotics would kill the normal bacteria.
However, the superbug would continue to replicate and he would become ill again with the infection driven by the superbug.
Dr Lee said those in contact with the patient could be infected by the superbug and if they had a weak immune system and other medical problems, he or she might die or require a long hospital stay.
He said doctors would then have to use stronger drugs such as carbapenems or polymixin as a result of antibiotic resistance but these drugs could impair some organs.
He stressed that the fight against antibiotic resistance must be a community, national and global effort.
Specialist: Limit prescription rights
MMA: Monitor private hospitals and GPs for antibiotic abuse