Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

How we can help prevent antibiotic resistance

How we can help prevent antibiotic resistance

On Nov. 6 the Health Department posted an update saying that this strain of bacteria is extensively drug resistant or XDR, meaning that most drugs used to treat these bacteria won't work.

Patients are advised to take antibiotics only when needed and prescribed for bacterial infections and to follow the doctor's advice.

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result.

And it's not just patients and doctors who are at fault: decades of liberal use of antibiotics to promote the health of farm animals headed for our tables and environmental contamination by the ubiquitous drugs have led to so-called superbugs like MRSA and VRE that have developed resistance to their effects. Because of the longstanding over-usage of antibiotics, it is not uncommon for many walk-in and urgent care centers to conduct audits of the prescriber's patterns of prescribing antibiotics.

Rewind to roughly 80 years ago, before antibiotics were widely used in medicine.

Experts think the progress of antibiotic resistant infections, such as MRSA and some strains of gonorrhoea, will speed up to four to seven times its current rate.

200 - the percentage increase in antibiotic use predicted to occur by 2030.

According to World Health Organization, surveys done in various countries showed that many patients believed that antibiotics would cure viral infections that cause fever, coughs and colds. We can all play a role by taking care with antibiotics.

Drug manufacturers aren't prepared to commit the average $1-billion outlay to develop an antibiotic that can cure an infection in five to 10 days, when they can put their resources into medications for conditions like high cholesterol or blood pressure, which typically are taken for life.

The team will compare three alternative treatment options: immediate antibiotics by mouth, immediate antibiotic eardrops, which have previously shown to be effective in children with grommets, and "delayed" oral antibiotics, where parents are advised to wait to see if the child's infection improves without antibiotics.

"But we have people in our hospitals that we haven't been able to treat".

A growing list of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhoea are becoming harder and sometimes impossible to treat as antibiotics become less effective.

"Imposing a rational antibiotic drug use policy is possible", said Dr Sarman Singh, AIIMS Bhopal director during a meeting of stakeholders on the occasion of World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

Moreover, the latest estimates of 33 000 deaths per year in Europe due to antimicrobial resistance must serve as a wake-up call to us all.

Pfizer, for example, created AMR surveillance tools that provide physicians and health communities in over 70 countries free access to critical data on the efficacy of various antibiotic treatments and emerging resistance patterns.

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