According to a recent study by the pediatricians of Apollo Hospital at Navi Mumbai, antibiotic resistance has escalated to an alarming level amongst the infants (especially the ones below the age of one month) and kids above that in India.
The study quotes that for every hundred hospitalized child patients overall India, ampicillin a common antibiotic used for treating bacterial infections have the chances of not being effective for 95 of them. Additionally, for 75% of the hospitalized kids, another common antibiotic gentamycin used for infants (to kill or prevent serious bacterial infections), may also not work! None of the outbreak or epidemic studies have been included in the same and results were obtained by 50, 545 blood culture reports administered in 15 years on Indian neonatal and pediatric ICUs.
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Dr. Dhanya Dharmapalan along with Dr. Vijay Yewale presented this study and their findings last month at a conference in Madrid. They also suggested for setting up a framework of experts at the corporation and district level for rigorously tracking the usage of antibiotics.
What are antibiotics?
Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs that are used for the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. These either destroy or restrain the growth of bacteria. Use of antibiotics for infants and toddlers is a prevalent practice in India and several other countries. It's the most commonly prescribed drug amongst all medications. However, antibiotics can also result in adverse effects leading to harmful impacts on the gut and immune system. And furthermore, the overuse of antibiotics drives to an antimicrobial resistance (as suggested by the current study).
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This kind of a substantial resistance transpires when antibiotics fail to suppress the growth of bacteria infecting a patient's body. And the primary cause of this slow down is the overuse of antibiotics. Dr. Dhanya also said that resistance levels are extremely high amongst the Indian infants and children that the government should at least track the sale & usage of high-end antibiotics like colistin used for pediatric intensive care unit and for treating ventilator-associated pneumonia.
In another study published in March 2017 by Mark R. Hobbs (New Zealand), the author concludes how the consumption of antibiotic in the children becomes nearly universal by the age of 5. This study too suggests the need for safer & efficient ways for improving the antibiotic prescription practices in New Zealand.
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According to the Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), “The world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era in which common infections will once again kill. If current trends continue, sophisticated interventions, like organ transplantation, joint replacements, cancer chemotherapy, and care of pre-term infants will become more difficult or even too dangerous to undertake. This may even bring the end of modern medicine as we know it."
Recently, WHO (World Health Organization) has updated the Essential Medicines List with bits of advice on the usage of antibiotics apart from adding the drugs for hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis, and cancer. It has given out a differentiation between which antibiotics should be used for common infections and which ones are to be preserved for the serious ones.
This video will help you understand more about antibiotic resistance.
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