Nope - sheer extrapolation. But isn't it obviously going to happen when people move around on this scale?
Have you considered your own country in this extrapolation of yours? A person doesn't have to live and work in the UK (as Poles do) to bring in a bug. Do you realize the volume of travel between the UK and US/CA? In fact MRSA, for one, was first identified in the UK (1961), and 20 years later in the US
. That was before any volume of Poles to speak of traveled to the UK. So, to paraphrase the topic of this thread, what was it with the British love of antibiotics? Perhaps those Poles who traveled to the UK brought back the nasty bugs and exposed to it a nation who was not as immunized to it through much contact as on the Island.?
A while ago I was actually interested in this so I asked a cousin of mine who is an MD. This is the essence what he told me:
Over-prescribing is one thing but this is not the end of the story, nor even the beginning, nor even the worst part of the story. Bacteria, as a living organisms mutate whether they are subject to improper antibiotic regime or not. Some of it is bound to have some resistance to certain medications and that which do survive and give rise to new strains. The antibiotic resistant pathogens were and are bound to overcome what we call medication.
Some doctors overdoze antis, some under-doze. The latter may be actually worse than overdozing since under-dozed antibiotics effectively act as vaccination that benefit the bacteria. The weakest are killed but the strongest are not. They survive and pass on their DNA.
The trick is to come up with just the right amount of the medication. We want to kill the bad bugs so one might tend to overprescribed, just to be sure. The problem is that too much antis may lead to fungal overgrowth (candida albicans) and the fungus, if left untreated will kill a person. Hence doctors often recommend youghurts and such, or simply prescribe antifungal medication to go with the antibiotic (nystatin is a popular choice). When too little is prescribed the bacteria acquire immunity to the antibiotic and eventually mutate into antibiotic resistant strains.
And then there is the actual user of the antbiotic. No matter how responsible the doctor is and how correct the doze is, some patients will stop taking the antibiotics prescribed to them as soon as they start feeling better. After all we should limit how much antis we take, right?
Of course it's not right. This only creates more opportunity for bacteria to mutate and to acquire resistance. Your comments would suggest that this would never happened to a native Brit.
There were mentions of kids being sent to school when they are sick. I can't argue with that since I don't know all the kids and their parents in Poland. What I know, and this is pretty rust knowledge (20+ years ago) was that Poles, unlike the Western Ubermensch, actually loved skipping work and school. Yes, some Poles are lazy. Imagine that.
A working person would need a special form, called L4, which was a doctor's note notifying the employer that the person in question is to stay at home for a specific number of days. These forms were not just printed at doctor's will. They were all numbered centrally (by the ministry of health I believe) much like money is. Some, less scrupulous doctors would sell L4 forms to some less scrupulous employed persons. Medical staff would count L4 forms like they count psychotropic drugs at each shift change in hospitals. Time off, supported b L4 was fully paid.
Pupils and students did not need L4 but they still needed a doctors note, which was usually in the form of a medical prescription. A low grade fever was ensured one. In junior grades a parent's note was sufficient. At that time I'd say parents tended to err on the side of caution and overprotection - better keep the mildly sick kid at home. At 37C in Canada you're good to go. When I was a kid 37C was a great excuse to stay at home and plow through books and toys.
An interesting thing we thought was a fact of life, a myth it turns out, was that in the West people not only do not abuse doctors' notes, but they will go to work/school even when they are sick. After all, no work = no pay.
This is not a rule where work and worked. Increasingly, people will stay at home if there are obvious symptoms but at times I heard employers and managers encouraging some symptomatic people to go home and not come back until they get better. This is of course to minimize the risk of a localized epidemic. So in fact, outside of Poland people will come to work/school sick. Is it more than in Poland? No idea. I have no reliable stats for either.