The threat is on the rise, so researchers have conducted a study to explain antibiotic resistance and its post-op risk that might eventually cause the number of infections and infection-related deaths to skyrocket.
- The study examined cases between 1968-2011, with potential risk for the future
- Best case scenario, a 10% increase in antibiotic resistance results in 2,100 more deadly infections
- Worst case scenario, a 70% increase will result in 15,000 additional deadly infections per year
- Experts demand for better strategy to combat antibiotic resistance and reduce its use in healthy consumable livestock
It’s an unfortunate fact of our age that bacterial resistance is growing against commonly prescribed antibiotics. This could be due to multiple factors, including the over-prescription and availability of strong medicine, along with its abuse in healthy livestock that the population consumes.
Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, from the Center for Disease Dynamics, has conducted an observational study from past cases, dated between 1968 and 2011. He examined the efficiency of antibiotic prophylaxis against common infections that occur after surgeries or chemotherapy treatment for blood cancer.
The study has suggested that if antibiotic resistance will continue to increase, it could mean heightened danger for the simplest of surgeries.
Researchers found that a worrying number of surgical site infections are caused by organisms that have become resistant to antibiotic prophylaxis. It has been pegged that 39% of post-caesarean sections, 51% post pacemaker implants, and between 50 to 90% of post transrectal prostate biopsy are likelier to cause infections, incurable by recommended antibiotics.
The numbers rise just over a quarter for blood cancer chemotherapy, at 27% of infections ending up as problematic when they should be easily fixed. This has raised the concerns of the medical community, that continues to call out for an urgent solution. Drugs are gradually losing their power against infections ranging from gonorrhea to tuberculosis. Not to mention the well known hospital super-bugs, like MRSA.
Using computerized simulations, the researchers were able to tell that if resistance to antibiotic prophylaxis rises by a mere 10%, it would result in 40,000 more infections, and 2,100 infection-related deaths per year only in the United States. This has been described as the ‘best case scenario’ though.
A mid-range risk, where the efficiency of antibiotic prophylaxis drops by 30%, it will end in 120,000 more infections, and 6,300 yearly infection-related deaths. It has emphasized the need for more drastic measures to improve our approach to antibiotic resistance.
In the worst case scenario, a 70% reduction in efficiency, there will be 280,000 more infections, and 15,000 additional infection-related deaths.
According to Dr. Laxminarayan, this is the first study to emphasize the risk of antibiotic resistance across a “broader medical care in the United States”. Ranging from the more common surgeries, to cancer treatments, the problem might result in a higher death rate. Even the simplest of procedures might put the patients at risk of a deadly bacteria.
There is an immediate need for up-to-date information on how to tackle the issue. Experts are underlining the need for research to create stronger drugs, or improve strategies of controlling or preventing antibiotic resistance. This could begin with our food, and continue on with eliminating the tendency of doctors of prescribing strong drugs willy nilly. It could just make matters worse in the long-run.
Image source: foodtank.com