A new study worryingly uncovers and warns that our resistance to antibiotics is increasing due to overuse, misuse and over prescription of drugs that might either have no effect or could simply be avoided altogether. Researchers gathered data surrounding last-line antibiotics, the final and last resort when everything fails.
- The use of antibiotics has grown by 30% between 2000 and 2010
- 50% of antibiotics are misused, either for too long, too much, or wrongly prescribed
- Bacteria such as MRSA and E. Coli are on the rise
- Developing countries are at bigger risk
The concern is drastically high surrounding developing countries, with India apparently at the top risk due to the discouraging statistics. As a comparison, citizens within the United States consume around 7 billion antibiotic pills per year, but the number grows to a near double 13 billion in India, according to the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP).
They conducted a study and an interactive map of 39 countries on the issue of drug resistance, and 65 nations on the matter of antibiotic use. It delved deeper than previous studies, as they investigated even private clinics in previously unsearched areas.
Antibiotic consumption has grown by 30% worldwide in ten years between 2000 and 2010, and drug resistance is an increasing problem in developing worlds where rates are higher, according to the director of CDDEP Ramanan Laxminarayan. The problem is that “it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better”, which is why there is an urgent need to take preventive measures.
India has shown likely the most disturbing statistics. Resistance to a class of very powerful antibiotics called carbapenems, that are used to treat Klebsiella pneumonia infections, has lifted from 29% to 57% between 2008 and 2014. The bacteria have successfully evolved to deem drugs dangerously ineffective, with 55% of the samples resistant compared to the near 0% in 2000. E. Coli now shows its own resistance against antibiotics, with 13% of cases in India, and has become a highly perilous and likely infection for pregnant women and children, each with 40% and 60% resistance against at least one antibiotic.
MRSA cases have also seen an increase from 29% to 45% in just five years in India, and it’s still on the rise in Australia or Latin America. The problem is becoming more and more serious with each passing year, and it can be blamed on both sanitation problem, over prescription, and the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture of farming.
An estimated number of 63,200 tons of antibiotics were used in 2010 on livestock, and the number is will possibly grow by two thirds in 2030. The solution, however, is certainly not the creation of new drugs, that will only come at high costs and will allow bacteria to further evolve.
Instead of a fix, there is a need for preventive measures that stop the diseases as opposed to fighting them after they infect the population. There is a use for better sanitation methods, such as regular hand-washing, as well as a rapid decrease of antibiotics use.
It should be double checked if an antibiotic is truly necessary, and no longer see its prescription for every time a patient gets the sniffles. Globally, a reported 50% of antibiotics are not correctly used, and may countries still do not have proper regulations and monitoring of their prescription.
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