IMG_3918Infections that have the ability to resist antibiotics are on the rise in Pakistan and India because more than half of the time the drugs are often prescribed incorrectly or when not required.

Around 71 percent of the infections occurring in infants being born in Pakistan are caused by Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (ARB) while in India an estimated 58,000 deaths due to neonatal sepsis are attributable to the same cause.

The antibiotics are the most commonly recommended drugs but more than half the time, they are not prescribed optimally and often unnecessarily.

The antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to withstand the effects of an antibiotic. It occurs when bacteria changes in a way that reduces effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. Hence, the resistant bacteria survives and continues to multiply, causing more harm by making people ill.

Some resistant infections cause severe illnesses and the affected people may require increased recovery time, increasing the cost of biological and financial recovery.

The antibiotics are also commonly used in animals consumed as food to prevent, control and treat diseases, besides promote their growth for increased production. We have to ensure cautious use of antibiotics since overuse is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world.

An antibiotic is a type of drug that kills or stops the growth of bacteria only. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses.”

A research was undertaken in the United States according to which around two million people in the country acquired serious bacterial infections every year that were resistant to one or more of the antibiotics designed to treat them.

About 23,000 people died each year as a direct result of these antibiotic-resistant infections.

Moreover, as many as 2,184 patients hospitalised with pneumococcal pneumonia in 11 Asian countries in 2008-2009 found that high-level penicillin resistance was rare, but resistance to erythromycin was highly prevalent (72.7%), while multi-drug resistance (MDR) was observed for 59.3% of S. pneumonia isolates.

Talking about the prevention of antibiotic resistance, experts are of the opinion that the phenomenon is accelerated by misuse and overuse of antibiotics, besides poor infection prevention and control. They say physicians, health workers, pharmacists, policy makers and agriculturists could help spread awareness about appropriate antibiotic usage.

General public should only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional and should always complete the prescribed course of medication.  Left-over antibiotics should never be reused or shared.