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11 Jun 2017

Antibiotic resistance increasing alarmingly in Indian children

Antibiotic resistance in Indian children

Antibiotic resistance among Indian children has reached alarming levels. According to a recent study by the Apollo Hospital in Navi Mumbai, ampicillin, a common antibiotic to fight infections, won't work on 95% pediatric patients.

Another common antibiotic, gentamycin, will probably not work on 75% of hospitalized children, especially those younger than one month.

In context

Antibiotic resistance in Indian children

What is antibiotic resistance?

With overuse of antibiotics, over time, the bacteria in one's body adapt and become immune to the drugs that are designed to kill them. This leads to the standard treatments for bacterial infections becoming ineffective.

The case is even worse for children


The case is even worse for children

Dr Dhanya Dharmapalan and Dr Vijay Yewale analyzed 50,545 blood culture reports from across India's neonatal and pediatric ICUs over 15 years.

"Almost a third of these samples had microbes, with staphylococcus aureus and klebsiella pneumoniae being the most common," Dr Yewale said.

"Antibiotic resistance is the cause when an E coli or urinary tract infection doesn't heal soon enough with oral drugs," Dr Dharmapalan added.

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Why is India so vulnerable?

India is the largest consumer of antibiotics in the world.

According to Public Health Foundation of India, three of five doctors recommend antibiotics because it's a "quick fix."

Often patients don't complete course of antibiotics. Experts also attribute India's poor sanitation, inexpensive antibiotics, poor health systems for antibiotic resistance.

It is estimated that two million Indians will die by 2050 due to drug resistance.

How can we check the trend?

The doctors have suggested setting up of an expert group at local levels to monitor use of antibiotics. According to Dr Dharmapalan, "The government should at least track sale and use of some high-end antibiotics like colistin and vancomycin."

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