Mr Solomon Chollom, a Medical Laboratory Scientist, says anti-microbial resistance is largely responsible for emerging and re-emerging strains of diseases in Nigeria.
Chollom, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos, defined anti-microbial resistance as the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication previously used in treating them.
He explained that the development of resistance by the microbes and bacteria is as a result of genetic mutation.
He further explained that this is because the mutant (the changed in shape microorganism or bacteria responsible for the disease) differs genetically from the original or parent organism.
“When this genetic variation as reflected on the ribosomal RNA does not show more than 70 per cent homology with existing strains of the organisms, the mutant is then identified as an entirely new organism and named as such.
“This phenomenon is responsible for the recent emergence type C strain of meningitis ravaging Nigerians,” he explained.
Chollom lamented that this anti-microbial resistance has led to the evolution of new organisms which are not only defying treatment with existing antibiotics, but has also led to vaccine failure as available vaccines fail to protect against emergent strains of the organisms.
He attributed factors such as the abuse of antibiotics, taking drugs without prescription from a licensed professional, taking of medication without prior laboratory tests and the inability of people to take the full course of their drugs as some major factors responsible for the resistance.
He explained that some patients when given a 5-day prescription abandon the treatment half way when they begin to feel better thinking they are okay.
“At this stage, the plasma concentration has not hit and stabilized at a peak to ensure complete clearance of the agent, with the discontinuation of the medication, the organisms recover from the initial shock and develop resistance against same drugs such that subsequent exposure to them does not kill the organisms anymore,” he said.
According to him, unless a lab confirmation of an infectious agent is established, any treatment initiated amounts to guess work and can pre-dispose to drug resistance.
“Prescriptions without lab confirmatory tests is a great disservice to the unsuspecting public and must be avoided by all,” he said. (NAN)
Source: Daily Trust Newspaper