Cape Town’s drought could fuel growing resistance to common antibiotics as more people are expected to become sick when normal hygiene practices are pushed aside in the name of saving water - resulting in more antibiotics being dispensed.
This is according to Professor Marc Mendelson, head of the infectious diseases division at the University of Cape Town.
“In drought situations, one usually sees an increase in the transmission of bacterial and viral infections through food and waterborne processes. Also if people wash their hands less, the worry is that we’ll begin to see more diarrhoeal disease in particular,” Mendelson said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the “ability of a micro-organism such as bacteria, viruses, and some parasites to stop an antimicrobial (antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it.”
The global health agency also says that germs’ resistance to antibiotics makes standard treatments ineffective and can make common infections harder and sometimes impossible to treat.