Antibiotic abuse is widespread

The greatest culprit in antibiotic abuse is the animal farming industry.

It has been estimated that animal husbandry uses about half of all antibiotics produced annually, to prevent disease and promote growth in livestock.

Such a colossal scale of antibiotic use immensely increases the chances of the evolution of superbugs with genetic immunity against antibiotics, no matter how fast we create new ones in the laboratory.

This malpractice should be curtailed and we can help prevent the spread of superbugs from animal to human by eating less meat.

Most upper respiratory tract infections are viral in nature, but up to 15 per cent may be bacterial in nature.

Often, what starts as a viral infection gets complicated by secondary bacterial infection, the symptoms of which bother the patient more than the original viral infection ("Most GP patients wrong on antibiotic use: Study"; Nov 29).

Without the benefit of expensive tests, and contrary to conventional wisdom, sometimes it is better to listen to the patient who knows himself well and accede to his insistent requests for antibiotics.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)