Thursday, July 21, 2016

Nearly 1 in 4 adults would use antibiotics without prescriptions: US Study

Contributed by Siddarth David & Dr. Tamhankar

A study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy found that nearly 5% of the 400 people surveyed had used antibiotics without prescription and nearly one-fourth would intend use antibiotics without a prescription. The study conducted in Texas showed that  one in twenty used these antibiotics to treat self-diagnosed viral illnesses like the flu and colds, even though antibiotics don’t work on viruses and one in four said they would use any antibiotic they had in the house to treat a sore throat, cough and runny nose.

The lead author of the study Larissa Grigoryan said that when people self-diagnose and self-prescribe antibiotics it is likely that the therapy is unnecessary because most often these are upper respiratory infections that are mostly caused by viruses. She also pointed out that the most common conditions patients reported self-treating with antibiotics were sore throat, runny nose or cough which were conditions that typically would get better without any antibiotic treatment. The study also showed that about one in twelve respondents had leftover antibiotics available at home which could be used, another critical cause for concern.

The study has shown yet gain that self-prescription of antibiotics was a critical contributor in the process of antibiotic resistance. Awareness and strict monitoring of purchases would be crucial to address the problem and should be part of the local, national and global policies to address antibiotic resistance.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Superbug" strains discovered across the world

Contributed by Siddarth David & Dr. Tamhankar

The multi-drug resistant strain of E. Coli with the MCR-1 gene has been isolated in New York, in the United States last week, making it second case the US. In April an isolate with MCR-1 gene was identified in a patient in Pennsylvania who had urinary tract infection. The new case was identified by the SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Program, of JMI Laboratories based in the US, that has been analysing samples from US hospitals and those across the world since 1997. Out of the nearly 20,000 samples tested the lab found almost 2% (390) samples showed the presence of theMCR-1 gene including from Germany, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Honk Kong, Brazil and Russia. These were associated with bloodstream infections, skin infections and urinary tract infections.

The discovery of the colistin, a last-line antibiotic, resistant gene in samples from meat as well as hospital in China last year had led to alarm bells ringing panic across the world on the extent and spread of the resistance. Moreover most of the cases the gene was carried on the plasmid DNA of the bacteria which would make it easy for it to be transferred between bacteria, facilitating its easy and rapid spread which could become a global public health crisis. After the discovery of the case in the US, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are working on trying to trace the origin of the bacteria to prevent any possible spread as well as understand its environment to ascertain if there could be more cases.

This, is another call for the adoption and implementation of stricter and more rational antibiotic use across the world in order to avoid more chances of the development of such multi-drug resistant "superbugs".  

Read The ``TRUE LIFE STORY``of a family infected with MRSA