Bacteria-BlueAn antibiotic-resistant “superbug” epidemic which is killing thousands of newborns in India may prove to have a global impact. India’s infant mortality rate is staggering, accounting for nearly a third of the yearly world total. Of the 800,000 infant deaths per year in the country, around 58,000 are caused by antibiotic-resistant infections. A number of factors have contributed to the epidemic — poor sanitation, crowded hospitals and overuse of antibiotics are among them. Although antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains are a growing problem in every part of the world, the situation in India is rapidly spiraling out of control. It’s a vicious cycle — because infections are so prevalent among newborns in India, antibiotics are routinely and indiscriminately administered to them at birth. This overuse of antibiotics in turn leads to the evolution of bacteria which are immune to their effects. The occurrence of bacterial infection in India is among the highest in the world, and Indians take more antibiotics per capita than anyone else. Antibiotics are freely sold over the counter in India, and despite efforts to curb their overuse, experts concede that a large percentage of bacterial strains in the country are now resistant to nearly all drugs. More