A new in-depth look at antibiotic resistance worldwide has revealed that the overuse of antibiotics has caused a sharp rise in antibiotic resistance, particularly in countries such as India, Vietnam and Kenya.
Investigators say that preventing the misuse of antibiotics is a priority, above and beyond the development of new drugs.
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New Scientist reports:
“Much of this data has never seen the light of day before because we dug it out from private clinics in these middle-income countries like India,” says Ramanan Laxminarayan of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi, India. “It’s the first global snapshot of antibiotic use and resistance.”
The analysis reveals soaring rates of resistance in countries of growing wealth, especially India, where more people are demanding antibiotics for minor infections, and resistance rates among bacteria are soaring. “We’ve seen a huge increase in MRSA in India, from 29 per cent of isolates in 2009 to 47 per cent in 2014,” says Laxminarayan.
Equally alarming, he says, is a surge in Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause fatal lung infections. It is resistant toCarbapenems, an antibiotic that is used as a last resort. In 2014 57 per cent of samples tested in India were resistant, compared with virtually none six years ago. “These bugs weren’t a problem at all, but now we stand on the brink of almost losing a whole class of vital antibiotics,” says Laxminarayan.