Antimicrobial resistance a biggest health threat: Doctors

80 percent of these drugs used by meat industry as growth promoters, antibiotic policy need of an hour: Dr Nisar Ul Hassan

Srinagar, Nov 24: Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health in the World today, compromising the treatment of infectious diseases and undermining advancements made in medicine, Doctors said on Thursday

A senior doctor of GMC Srinagar told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that the most powerful antibiotics, which once saved the lives of millions of people across the world, are ineffective today.

He said that superbugs have the ability to cause severe infections for which there are no cures and antibiotics are also reaching one through the food chain.

Nearly 80 percent of these drugs are used by the meat industry, fed to cattle, chicken and other livestock to help them grow well used as growth promoters and the drug enters the human system through meat, milk, water and soil.

Think twice and seek advice before using antibiotics as misuse of antibiotics put us all at risk, he said

He said that unnecessary and extensive use of antibiotics have promoted the emergence and proliferation of resistant bacteria and other pathogens, along with rising AMR, which in turn has resulted in inadequate treatment of common infections and such consequences necessitate the exploration of a variety of ways to combat this expanding issue of resistance.

He said that antibiotics were given in 70% of covid-related hospital cases and 100% of ICU admissions (patients with pneumonia), however, a small percentage of COVID-19 patients were requiring administration of antibiotics to cure secondary infections, he said.

The over usage of antibiotics is a direct threat to patient’s health due to risk of adverse effects as well as increased emergence of AMR and multidrug-resistant microorganisms, he added.

As per a report published in Lancet in January 2022, bacterial AMR caused 4.95 million deaths globally by 2019 and without any effective action plan is predicted to cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050.

Dr Nisar Ul Hassan, a senior medico at GMC, Srinagar and DAK president told KNO that there is a desperate need of an antibiotic policy so as to do away with this irrational and inappropriate use of antibiotics.

Antibiotic policy will help in rationalization of antibiotic use in hospitals and even outside hospitals and will help in standard treatment protocol, he said.

There is need different policy at different places and national policy won’t help here as we have our own epidemiological microbiology that is own pathogen prevalence which will be different for different regions and policy must be based on antibiogram of the region, he said

The irrational and inappropriate treatment of patients is the main reason for evolution of these drug resistant microbes and hospitals are flooded with these deadly microbes.

By giving inappropriate antibiotics, we end up in developing drug resistant microbes, he said

He said that though development of resistance is a natural phenomenon, its amplification and spread through certain faulty practices is concerning.

He said that it is exacerbated to most extent by the underlying factors like misuse of antimicrobial medicines – their overdosing/overprescribing/under-dosing and being prescribed for inappropriate indications; insufficient access to quality antibiotics; lack of a comprehensive and coordinated response; weak or absent antimicrobial resistance surveillance and monitoring systems; poor infection control practices; and unhealthy self-medication behaviour among people.

“Inappropriate use of antibiotics is responsible for alarming levels of antibiotic resistance in Kashmir valley, ” he said, adding more than two-thirds of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed for infections caused by viruses or conditions that are not linked to infection at all.

Dr Nisar said that with no regulations, chemists give antibiotics to everyone and even in hospitals patients are given antibiotics without appropriate testing to match their bacterial infection.

“Inappropriate and irrational use of antibiotics has turned Kashmir hospitals into breeding grounds for deadly bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics,” he said adding more than 80% of the bacteria are resistant even to last resort antibiotics—(KNO)