40% children in Chattogram antibiotic-resistant: Findings of a dbme study

The medicines we are self-prescribing in our efforts to fight off illnesses are actually creating stronger and deadlier germs. A recent research confirms that overuse and misuse of antibiotics are causing antibiotic resistance in people and creating uncertainties regarding the effectiveness of future treatments. As many as 47 percent of newborns and children in Chattogram have been infected by at least three types of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, pathogens that cannot be fought off by drugs, said researchers. They conducted a study on 1,000 patients in two hospitals in Chattogram over a period of two years — from 2018 to 2020 — and found increasing ineffectiveness of antibiotics among adolescents and youths.

“Among the patients monitored in the research, around 50 percent were children. Of them, more than 40 percent were antibiotic resistant,” said one of the researchers, Dr Wazir Ahmed, head of neonatal ICU at Chattogram Maa-O-Shishu Hospital. The physician feared that treatment of children will be almost impossible in the future, if they develop resistance to other antibiotics.

The research, which focused on five age groups, ranging from neonates to adults aged 60 and above, was recently published in the international journal PLoS ONE.

Referring to the findings, Dr Wazir said 40 percent of the participants aged 15 and above showed resistance to at least three antibiotics. Additionally, 70 percent of people were resistant to at least one antibiotic.

Dr Nahid Sultana, another researcher and head of Maa-O-Shishu Hospital’s microbiology department, said they found that three out of every four males who previously suffered from pneumonia were resistant to three or more drugs.

The study looked at the effectiveness of 16 antibiotics commonly prescribed by Chattogram doctors to fight off klebsiella pneumonia, bacteria which typically cause hospital-acquired infections, and found that the drugs were largely ineffective.

The researchers stated that there are four main reasons for the increasing rate of antibiotic resistance among patients — patients getting infected by antibiotic-resistant pathogens from hospitals through basins, beds and walls; resistance passed down from mother to neonate; irrational use of antibiotics without doctors’ suggestion; and consumption of dairy and poultry products laced with antibiotics.

The researchers also detected multiple genes in patients that contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance, said Dr Adnan Mannan, a researcher and associate professor of genetic engineering and biotechnology at Chittagong University.

He emphasised regular monitoring and clinical detection of antibiotic resistant bacteria and their plasmids (a specific genetic structure) to prevent public health disasters. In the study, it was found that patients residing at the city’s Agrabad, Doublemooring, Halishahar, Panchlaish, Bayezid and Bakalia areas, and in Sitakunda, Ptaiya, Hathazari and Chandanaish upazilas were resistant to multiple antibiotics. According to the researchers, there are many pharmacies in those areas from which patients can buy antibiotics without any prescription. Dr Mannan said there are around 6,000 pharmacies in Chattogram, and almost half of them do not have government licence. He said a countrywide comprehensive study should be conducted on this issue in the future. The principal researchers of the study were genetic engineering and biotechnology teachers Dr Adnan Mannan and Md Mahbub Hasan,  Dr Nahid Sultana and Dr Wazir Ahmed, while Chittagong University student Afroza Akter Tanni assisted in the research. The research was funded by Research and Publication Office of Chittagong University and supported by Disease Biology and Molecular Epidemiology Research Group Chattogram. Link of the paper-

Feature at the daily star-https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/news/enemy-our-own-making-2180616

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