Danger of Anti-microbial resistance
Aug 12, 2016
Antibiotic / Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of microbes to resist the effects of drugs – that is, the germs are not killed, and their growth is not stopped. Although some people are at greater risk than others, no one can completely avoid the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections. Infections with resistant organisms are difficult to treat, requiring costly and sometimes toxic alternatives.
Bacteria will inevitably find ways of resisting the antibiotics developed by humans, which is why aggressive action is needed now to keep new resistance from developing and to prevent the resistance that already exists from spreading.
Key facts about anti-microbial resistance
- Antimicrobial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
- It is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society.
- Antimicrobial resistance is present in all parts of the world. New resistance mechanisms emerge and spread globally.
- In 2012, WHO reported a gradual increase in resistance to HIV drugs, albeit not reaching critical levels. Since then, further increases in resistance to first-line treatment drugs were reported, which might require using more expensive drugs in the near future.
- In 2013, there were about 480 000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) has been identified in 100 countries. MDR-TB requires treatment courses that are much longer and less effective than those for non-resistant TB.
- In parts of the Greater Mekong subregion, resistance to the best available treatment for falciparum malaria, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), has been detected. Spread or emergence of multidrug resistance, including resistance to ACTs, in other regions could jeopardize important recent gains in control of the disease
- There are high proportions of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause common infections (e.g. urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections) in all regions of the world. A high percentage of hospital-acquired infections are caused by highly resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) or multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria
- Treatment failures due to resistance to treatments of last resort for gonorrhoea (third-generation cephalosporins) have been reported from 10 countries. Gonorrhoea may soon become untreatable as no vaccines or new drugs are in development.
- Patients with infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria are generally at increased risk of worse clinical outcomes and death, and consume more health-care resources than patients infected with the same bacteria that are not resistant.
Scenario in India
New Delhi was tacked onto the name of a one such bug in 2008 when New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 was identified in one patient.
Causes for this:
- Antibiotic use is a major driver of resistance. In 2010, India was the world’s largest consumer of antibiotics for human health
- Other factors are increasing and wanton use of antibiotics in livestock production, inappropriate doses, and irrational use of antibiotics in hospitals.
What to be done
Stringent enforcement of drugs control, making the dispensing of some antibiotics over the counter punishable, is the need of the hour.
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