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April 13, 2016

Antibiotic resistant bacteria responsible for 71% newborn infections in Pakistan


April 13, 2016


Seventy-one percent of the newborn infections in Pakistan are a result of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (ARB). In India, an estimated 58,000 neonatal sepsis deaths are attributable to drug resistant infections.

Health experts shared this data at a press briefing titled ‘Antibiotic resistance -- act today for safer tomorrow.’

Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in human medicine. However, up to 50% of the time, antibiotics are not optimally prescribed, often done so when not needed, or given in incorrect dosage or duration,’ said Ejaz Khan, infectious diseases consultant at Shifa International Hospital and former president of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Society of Pakistan.

Dr. Ejaz said, “Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of an antibiotic. It occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The resistant bacteria then survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm, and spreading to other persons as well.”

While talking about the prevention of antibiotic resistance, Dr. Ejaz highlighted that it is accelerated by misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as well as poor infection prevention and control. Physicians, health workers, pharmacists, policy makers and agriculturists can help spread awareness about appropriate antibiotic usage.

Explaining the consequences, Dr. Mohammad Usman, associate consultant microbiologist at Shifa International Hospital said, some resistant infections cause severe illness. People with these infections may require increased recovery time, tend to incur increased medical expenses, or may die from the infection if not treated properly.

“We have to ensure cautious use of antibiotics as the use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. An antibiotic is a type of drug that kills or stops the growth of bacteria only. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses,” he reasoned.

Dr. Khalid Naeem Khawaja, consultant microbiologist at theNational Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), said that antibiotics are commonly used in animals that are used as food to prevent, control, and treat disease, and to promote the growth of food-producing animals.

Dr. Shafqat Ali Hamdani, pharmacist and consultant healthcare system at Shifa Pharmacy and Laboratories, referred to a research case study of the United States which says that 2 million people acquire serious infections with bacteria every year that are resistant to one or more of the antibiotics designed to treat the infections. As many as 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these antibiotic-resistant infections. He said, 2,184 patients hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia in 11 Asian countries in 2008-2009 found that high-level penicillin resistance was rare, that resistance to erythromycin was highly prevalent (72.7%), and that multi-drug resistance (MDR) was observed for 59.3% of S. pneumonia isolates.

“Public should only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional and should always take the full prescription; never using left-over antibiotics; and never sharing antibiotics with others,” concluded health experts.

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