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The silent pandemic: Rise of drug-resistant superbugs, says doctor

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 20-02-2023 Express News Service
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City-based dermatologist has stated that there has been a rise in drug-resistant superbugs " Recalcitrant Dermatophytosis" – fungal infection of skin -- in the OPDs of late.

Dr Vikas Sharma, MD PGI, chief consultant dermatologist and dermato-laser surgeon, National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, explained that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been rising for years, but a spike in "antibiotic and antifungal use during the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process".

antimicrobThe evolution of antimicrobial drug resistance is inevitable in the universal world.

He added that "in dermatology OPDs all over the world, there has been a rise in drug-resistant dermatophytosis – fungal infection of skin.

Once the easiest to diagnose and treat fungal infections of skin have become a nightmare for dermatologists and suffering patients as these fungal infections of skin have become less responsive to conventional antifungal drugs".

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"Before the pandemic, AMR was on the rise. Then the pandemic hit, and in the global panic to mitigate the new killer infection, antibiotics and antifungals were deployed with fresh abandon. This is due to multiple factors – causative agent factors, host factors, drug-related factors, and environmental factors," he said.

The doctor has highlighted the role of self-medication done by patients that has compounded the problem.

"The self-medication by patients via usage of easy availability of inexpensive steroid-antifungal-antibiotic combination creams has compounded the problem. These creams tend to provide instant relief but it tends to damage the skin by making it thinner and making the infection turn chronic and recalcitrant. In addition, the self-medication via usage of such creams changes the entire morphology of skin lesions making it a diagnostic dilemma. So, self-medication should be avoided," he said.

The compliance of adhering to the completion of the entire drug regimen for full cure of fungal infections of skin is of paramount importance – the failure to do so makes the infection resistant, he added.

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