Indiscriminate use of antibiotics has made close to 50 per cent people develop resistance to strong antibiotics used to treat common hospital-acquired bacterial infections, according to the preliminary results of a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The ongoing study, which was launched in 2013, aimed to study antibiotic resistance in six pathogen groups, namely typhoid, fungal infections, hospital-acquired infections, bacterial infections like staphylococcus and diarrheoa. The data had been collected from patients at four medical colleges — AIIMS, JIPMER Puducherry, PGI Chandigarh and CMC Vellore.
According to the initial data, the resistance to antibiotics was very high in newborns, said ICMR Director General Dr Soumya Swaminathan. “Our data is showing that a very high number of newborns are dying of drug resistance diseases,” Swaminathan added.
Terming the results “worrying” as most hospitals lack antibiotic control policy, Swaminathan said that though 80 percent of fevers and throat infections were caused by viruses, doctors prescribed antibiotics for them. “Many physicians do not know what antibiotics to prescribe and the trends to watch out for… We hope this data will give us nationally representative evidence to create guidelines on the issue,” Swaminathan added.
However, there is one good news. According to Dr Kamini Walia, senior research officer in epidemiology and microbiology with the ICMR, some drugs, particularly for typhoid like amoxicillin that had developed high resistance in the last few years are now reporting greater susceptibility. “Antibiotic resistance is a bigger problem in India than in any other country due to its blatant abuse, misuse and non completion of doses,” said AIIMS Director Dr M C Misra. AIIMS was the first hospital to set up a monitoring board to regulate drug resistance.
Antibiotics in Yamuna water: AIIMS study
A study by AIIMS has found elements of antibiotics in water samples collected from Yamuna, which experts said may lead to drug resistance in microbes. The water samples were collected from Wazirabad- Kalindi Kunj stretch of Yamuna. “ It may lead to a terrible situation where infections that are responding to current antibiotic therapy may stop working in the future as the microbes will develop drug resistance,” said Dr Vel Pandian, a professor at AIIMS.
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