Most healthy Indians resistant to Antibiotics! What this means for your health and how it will impact treatment

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Published: June 7, 2019 3:00:36 PM

For medical practitioners and doctors, continuous surveillance of drug resistant strains is very important to identify the changing antibiotic susceptibility pattern and the resistance pattern in patients.

Next time your doctor prescribes antibiotics, discuss the possibility of antibiotic resistance!

Next time your doctor prescribes antibiotics, discuss the possibility of antibiotic resistance! Wondering why such a discussion is relevant? A brief perusal of the findings of the Annual report on Anti-microbial Resistance Surveillance Network 2017 by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), indicates a worrisome trend of increasing antibiotic resistance in healthy Indians.

Way back in 1945, the alarm over antibiotic overuse was first raised by none other than Sir Alexander Fleming, who warned ‘then will begin an era of abuses.” Now, we already know this is a grim reality.

For medical practitioners and doctors, continuous surveillance of drug resistant strains is very important to identify the changing antibiotic susceptibility pattern and the resistance pattern in patients.

For instance, the report found that among the diarrheal pathogens, Aeromonas spp is among the most isolated species and showed moderate resistance to all tested antibiotics.

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Next, Shigella spp is the second most common diarrheal pathogen and the isolates showed increased resistance whereas Tetracycline still appears effective for V cholerae.

Another worrisome finding in the report pertains to the steadily increasing reports of Linezolid resistance.

Also, there is growing resistance in medicines that are commonly used for treating yeast infections, which is mentioned in the report.

While the comprehensive report goes into the finer technicalities in terms of the medications and infections that were closely tracked, we take a look at this to simplify what this means for the common man.

Notably, the development of new antibiotics is no longer considered to be economically viable, as these are generally treated as ‘last line’ drugs, which are mostly kept in reserve by doctors. Due to diminished return on investment, new antibiotics are not being developed.

Another aspect pertains to rampant agricultural use of antibiotics which eventually enters our food chain.

In addition, antibacterial products we tend to use for cleaning and hygienic purposes may also limit immunities to environmental antigens in children and adults.

READ: Breakthrough in breast cancer therapy set to benefit women in India!

Despite repeated warnings, antibiotics are overused and prescribed by doctors worldwide.

The ICMR study demonstrates how the inappropriate use of antibiotics for even mild ailments like a cold has now transformed the human intestinal gut flora into a hub of antibiotic resistant organisms that are currently resistant to low-end antibiotics but can also turn resistant to high end antibiotics, if the misuse continues.

To put it in the simplest way, this is a serious concern because it means that it will become more difficult to treat infections using antibiotics in future.

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