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HomeNewsAntibiotic-resistance could pose another pandemic in India: Report

Antibiotic-resistance could pose another pandemic in India: Report

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Each year, antibiotic-resistant neonatal infections result in the deaths of nearly 60,000 newborns. According to the Lancet, antibiotic-resistant neonatal infections caused 1.27 million deaths worldwide in just 2019. What are these infections? These are the infections where bacteria change over time and eventually develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.

According to a report, India is one of the countries that are worst hit by “antimicrobial resistance”. The report also mentions a government report which shows how the things are getting worse by the day. The report mentioned that some tests were carried out at Kasturba Hospital to find out which antibiotic would be most effective against the five main bacterial pathogens such as E.coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

The study found that a number of drugs were less than 15 per cent effective in treating the diseases caused by those bacterial pathogens. They also found the rise of multidrug-resistant pathogens called Acinetobacter baumannii. Acinetobacter baumannii attacks the lungs of a patient.

An ICMR report has said that the resistance to powerful antibiotics has risen by up to 10 per cent in a year. A scientist at the ICMR said, “The reason why this is alarming is that it is a great drug to treat sepsis [a life-threatening condition] and is sometimes used as a first line of treatment in hospitals for very sick patients in ICUs.”

The ICMR report also noted that only 43 per cent of pneumonia infections could be treated with the first line of antibiotics in 2021. It was 65 per cent in 2016, the ICMR report says.

Another doctor from Kolkata’s AMRI Hospital “six out of 10” patients in her ICU have drug-resistant infections. “The situation is truly alarming. We have come to a stage where you are not left with too many options to treat some of these patients,” she was quoted as saying.

Doctors in India prescribe antibiotics indiscriminately for infections like flu or common cold, a viral infection, dengue or malaria, public health experts say. Patients of Covid-19, too, were given antibiotics. The ICMR study said that more than half of 17,534 Covid-19 patients who acquired drug-resistant infections died.

Dr Kamini Walia, a scientist at the ICMR, said, “Doctors are sometimes not sure what they are treating, and they want to treat everything by using broad-spectrum drugs.” The report said that patients also pump antibiotics to “to compensate for poor hygiene and sanitation, because no doctor wants to lose a patient because of an infection.”

Quoting experts, the report said that India needs to invest more in diagnostic labs and have more infectious diseases physicians and doctors should be trained on the usage of antibiotics.

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