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Oct, 29 2018

Rising antibiotic resistance taking India to pre-antibiotic era, say experts

The situation can become alarming considering that the crude infectious disease-related mortality rate in India is 416.75 per 100,000 persons, which is about twice the prevalent rate in United States (World Bank data).

The lack of restrictions on access to antibiotics and their irrational use, non-standardized microbiology laboratories, use of antibiotics in animal husbandry and fisheries, and lack of sanitation are leading to widespread antibiotic resistance in India, and there is a danger of the country slipping back into the pre-antibiotic era.

The situation can become alarming considering that the crude infectious disease-related mortality rate in India is 416.75 per 100,000 persons, which is about twice the prevalence rate in the United States (World Bank data). There is also a 15-times greater burden of infectious diseases per person in India than in the UK.

This was said by experts in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) from India and abroad. They highlighted the importance of ‘Antibiotic Stewardship’, which means a combination of practices to rationalize antibiotic use through the right dose, right drug, right duration, right frequency, right patient and right indication.

Dr. Sanjeev K Singh, Medical Superintendent, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, said, "Over-consumption of antibiotics is rampant in India. A recent study in Kerala has found that 89% of all doctors prescribe antibiotics on daily basis. Hence, when a patient suffers from, say, symptoms of upper-respiratory infection, diarrhoea or vomiting – which usually indicates a disease that is viral in nature and therefore should not be treated with antibiotics – the patient gets prescribed a course of antibiotics. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that India consumes the highest volume of antibiotics in the world.”

Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, Associate Director, Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept. of Health, said, “Antibiotic resistance poses an urgent threat to the health of the world. The loss of effective antibiotic therapy threatens to make once-treatable infections deadly again and jeopardize the delivery of modern medicine. One of the best ways we can preserve the power of life-saving antibiotics is to improve the way we use them, a concept known as ‘antibiotic stewardship’. Its goal is to ensure that everyone gets the right antibiotic when they need one.”

Dr. Alison Holmes, Director of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit at Imperial College, London, and Public Health England, said, “Individually and collectively, we all have responsibility in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics, which means we must use them wisely and that we must also reduce the need for antibiotics by maximizing action to prevent infections from occurring.”

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