Antibiotics overuse linked to rising death toll, TS Govt issues advisory

Overuse of antibiotics contributes to emergence of antibiotic resistance posing a significant threat to public health

By Anoushka Caroline Williams  Published on  12 Feb 2024 10:08 AM GMT
Antibiotics overuse linked to rising death toll, TS Govt issues advisory

Hyderabad: The Government of Telangana has recently issued a public advisory on the impact of Anti-microbial Resistance (AMR) on global healthcare.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity, with bacterial resistance directly responsible for a significant number of global deaths in 2019.

According to reports, India, including Telangana, faces a high rate of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobials, which include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and anti-parasitics, play a vital role in healthcare. However, misuse of antibiotics poses a serious threat, leading to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, commonly known as ‘superbugs.’

Resistance renders antibiotics ineffective

The Government’s advisory stressed that while antibiotics save lives when used correctly, their misuse contributes to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. This resistance renders antibiotics ineffective, making infections difficult or impossible to treat, posing a significant threat to public health.

The development of anti-microbial resistance is a natural phenomenon, but human actions can accelerate its emergence and spread. Over-prescribing antibiotics is one of the causes of AMR, prompting WHO guidelines urging doctors to prescribe antibiotics only when necessary and appropriate.

Overuse of antibiotics in animal control

The advisory highlighted the multifaceted approach needed to combat AMR, involving healthcare professionals, regulatory authorities, industries, and the general public. Rigorous infection prevention and control measures are recommended in hospitals to reduce the spread of drug-resistant pathogens.

Another significant contributor to AMR is the overuse of antibiotics in food-producing animals, poultry, and fish farming. The advisory urges against using antibiotics for growth promotion in livestock, poultry, and fish.

Environmental factors, such as pollution from pharmaceutical manufacturing units and inappropriate disposal of unused antibiotics, are also identified as contributors to AMR.

Don’t share antibiotics

The public’s role in fighting AMR is crucial, and the advisory provides clear guidelines for responsible antibiotic use. It emphasised the importance of using antibiotics only when prescribed by a qualified doctor, purchasing antibiotics based on a prescription, and completing the full course of treatment as directed by the doctor.

The advisory also discouraged sharing antibiotics with others or using leftover antibiotics from previous treatments. It urges the public to be vigilant and consider the necessity of antibiotics before use, emphasising the long-term impact of misuse on antibiotic efficacy.

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