How have antibiotics been misused?

Expert Answers
dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Antibiotic misuse is endemic to all areas of the world but especially in less-developed areas of the globe. This happens for a couple of reasons. Properly trained personnel are scarce, particularly in rural areas. In many countries antibiotics can be purchased without a prescription and are used for all types of maladies. Often the course (length) of treatment is far too short to eradicate the infection.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) maintains statistics on these matters and they estimate that a vast majority of all antibiotic usage is inappropriate.

In the United States a large volume of antibiotics are used not for human infections but by the cattle industry to promote growth of cows raised for slaughter. Some physicians will reluctantly prescribe an antibiotic because the patient demands it, even though the persons affliction is not susceptible to the drug. All these factors combined have lead to the present day drug resistant microorganisms that continue to increase with time.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post covers a lot of ground, all of it well documented at this point.  Anti-biotics were also misused in the US and other developed nations after they were first developed.  The ability to combat bacterial infections so effectively was fantastic for doctors and they were able to cut down the length of certain sicknesses, etc., before people started to realize that the constant use of the drugs was not only creating resistant germs but also compromising people's own immune systems.

One of the things that doctors have realized is that the body's own immune system needs to be worked out, almost like the rest of the body, in order to be healthy and maintain effectiveness.  So treating anything with anti-biotics, especially for long periods of time, compromises the body's own ability to fight for itself, a very dangerous prospect in the long run.