Uncontrolled use of antibiotics in the developing world has sparked a serious health crisis where children are losing their hearing. Up to two thirds of all cases are caused by the indiscriminate use of antibiotics such as streptomycin and gentamicin
Leading specialists are calling for action to stop the sale of the drugs which in some area of Nigeria are being dispensed from shops in the marketplace (BMJ, 1996; 313:648).
"Superbugs" seem to be more resistant to antibiotics as use increases, researchers have observed.
A study from Iceland among children aged under seven found a close link between the level of antibiotic prescribing and antibiotic resistant pneumococci. Of the 919 children recruited for the study, nearly 50 were carrying either penicillin resistant or multi resistant pneumococci.
The main factors seemed to be that the children affected were aged under two, had a course of antibiotics in the past year and lived in an area of high antibiotic prescribing.
!ABMJ, 1996; 313: 897-91.