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July 2015 Newsletter

The Times :“ Antibiotic Epidemic” & IPAF’s response…

The following article appeared in the above publication recently. It was answered by the IPA Foundation on your behalf as per the article below……… your comments are appreciated to our email address.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has joined six counterparts in promising to reduce the misuse of antibiotics as the world faces a future in which 10 million people could die annually due to infections resistant to available antibiotics.

Writing in an editorial of the World Health Organisation journal released on Wednesday, Motsoaledi joined the health ministers of Norway, Brazil, Senegal, Indonesia, Thailand and France in committing to put strategies in place to reduce the misuse of life-saving antibiotics.
South Africa has been developing such a strategy as part of its commitment to working with the World Health Organisation to reduce antibiotic misuse that is creating superbugs.

The WHO has warned that, by 2050, as many as 10 million people a year could die because they are resistant to available antibiotics. Despite people already dying of drug-resistant infections in private and public hospitals, doctors are still prescribing antibiotics for viral infections, for which they have no effect.

Professor Guy Richards, a specialist in intensive-care units in Johannesburg, said GPs were still misprescribing antibiotics “It is difficult to go to a GP with a viral infection and come away without an antibiotic.” “Virtually all winter infections are viruses and do not respond to antibiotics," he said.
As many as 70% of GP prescriptions for antibiotics were inappropriate, either for too long a duration or
 
not necessary, Richards said. According to Department of Health documents on antimicrobial resistance released this year, “half of all antibiotics used globally are unnecessary”. Recent data from the Discovery Health Medical Scheme showed that in 59% of claims for upper-respiratory-tract illnesses in children, such as a cold or blocked nose, doctors diagnosed a viral infection but prescribed antibiotics.

Discovery Health CEO Dr Jonathan Broomberg said: “In all cases the treating doctor indicated a diagnostic code for a viral cause of respiratory illness, and there was an associated antibiotic claim from the pharmacy from the same visit.

This strongly suggests that the doctor was diagnosing a viral. Wrong use of antibiotics can harm child development illness, but then prescribing an antibiotic.”
Using antibiotics unnecessarily drives resistance and this week new evidence emerged that the drugs could be harmful to children when not needed. Scientists at the New York University School of Medicine wrote in Nature magazine that mice fed antibiotics commonly used in children gained weight, developed bone problems and had seriously disturbed gut bacteria four months later.

The lead scientist of the study, Professor Martin Blaser, told The Times that when antibiotics are prescribed for viral infections in children — for which they have no benefit—there is growing evidence of short- and long-term risks.

Blaser and his team were concerned that frequent antibiotic use affected children’s development because antibiotics disturbed and damaged the composition and diversity of bacteria in the gut. Gut bacteria play a role in the development of both the immune system and metabolism.

Blaser, while emphasising the study was in mice, said antibiotic use for children had to be “judicious”. "We have been using antibiotics as if there is no biological cost. Previous research by Blaser showed antibiotic use in early childhood was linked to a predisposition to obesity and fatness later in life.

He said in Sweden doctors used only 40% of the amount of antibiotics prescribed to children in the US, and Swedish children were growing up fine. For example, there is no epidemic of deafness or serious infections there due to the fact that Swedes use  fewer antibiotics to treat ear infections."Blaser said a lot could be learned from this difference in drug use.”

Johannesburg microbiologist Dr Adrian Brink said   recently that one reason for excessive prescription of antibiotics was the pressure patients and parents put on doctors for the drugs. not necessary, Richards said. According to Department of Health documents on antimicrobial resistance released this year, “half of all antibiotics used globally are unnecessary”. Recent data from the Discovery Health Medical Scheme showed that in 59% of claims for upper-respiratory-tract illnesses in children, such as a cold or blocked nose, doctors diagnosed a viral infection but prescribed antibiotics.

Discovery Health CEO Dr Jonathan Broomberg said: “In all cases the treating doctor indicated a diagnostic code for a viral cause of respiratory illness, and there was an associated antibiotic claim from the pharmacy from the same visit.

This strongly suggests that the doctor was diagnosing a viral. Wrong use of antibiotics can harm child development illness, but then prescribing an antibiotic.”
Using antibiotics unnecessarily drives resistance and this week new evidence emerged that the drugs could be harmful to children when not needed. Scientists at the New York University School of Medicine wrote in Nature magazine that mice fed antibiotics commonly used in children gained weight, developed bone problems and had seriously disturbed gut bacteria four months later.

The lead scientist of the study, Professor Martin Blaser, told The Times that when antibiotics are prescribed for viral infections in children — for which they have no benefit—there is growing evidence of short- and long-term risks.

Blaser and his team were concerned that frequent antibiotic use affected children’s development because antibiotics disturbed and damaged the composition and diversity of bacteria in the gut. Gut bacteria play a role in the development of both the immune system and metabolism.

Blaser, while emphasising the study was in mice, said antibiotic use for children had to be “judicious”. "We have been using antibiotics as if there is no biological cost. Previous research by Blaser showed antibiotic use in early childhood was linked to a predisposition to obesity and fatness later in life.

He said in Sweden doctors used only 40% of the amount of antibiotics prescribed to children in the US, and Swedish children were growing up fine. For example, there is no epidemic of deafness or serious infections there due to the fact that Swedes use  fewer antibiotics to treat ear infections."Blaser said a lot could be learned from this difference in drug use.”

Johannesburg microbiologist Dr Adrian Brink said   recently that one reason for excessive prescription of antibiotics was the pressure patients and parents put on doctors for the drugs.  

                  
Source: The Times

Last modified on Monday, 27 July 2015 05:22

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