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Antibiotic resistance could be next ‘hidden pandemic’: British experts

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LONDON. The coronavirus pandemic caught global attention in early 2020 and hasn’t stopped since then, but British experts warn that antibiotic-resistant infections, often described as a “latent pandemic”, should be the next major concern.

According to the UK Health Safety Agency, one in five people in the UK with a bloodstream infection had an antibiotic-resistant infection in 2020, even after the decline in antibiotic-resistant infections recorded in 2019.

There are now fears that antibiotic resistance could rise again as winter approaches and the global outbreak of Covid-19 gradually emerges.

“Antimicrobial resistance has been described as a latent pandemic and it is important that we do not get out of Covid-19 and enter a new crisis,” Dr. Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said Wednesday.

“It is likely that the 2020 Covid-19 restrictions, including increased infections, prevention and control measures … played a role in reducing antibiotic resistance and prescribing drugs. don’t act responsibly and it can be as easy as washing your hands regularly and thoroughly. “

Antibiotics are vital for treating bacterial infections that cause pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis, and modern medicine often relies on them to protect against infections during routine medical procedures such as chemotherapy, caesarean section, and other surgeries.

However, it is problematic that antibiotics are often prescribed to treat cough, earache, and sore throat, where they may have little or no effect.

To make matters worse, prescribing antibiotics when they weren’t effective or necessary has led to the emergence of antibiotic resistance, which occurs when bacteria no longer respond to antibiotics, which can cause serious complications, including bloodstream infections and hospitalizations.

Hidden pandemic

Experts have warned for years that antibiotic resistance could be one of the greatest threats to humanity. The World Health Organization describes this as “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today.”

UKSHA’s Hopkins added that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them only puts you and your loved ones at greater risk in the future.

“As we get closer to winter, with more respiratory infections in circulation, it’s important to remember that antibiotics are not needed for many cold symptoms. Stay home if you feel unwell, ”she said.

During the Covid pandemic, the number of antibiotic-resistant bloodstream infections has decreased. New data released by the UKHSA on Wednesday showed that the number of such cases fell from 65,583 in 2019 to 55,384 last year.

For the first time since 2016, the number of such cases has decreased, but they still remain at a higher level than six years ago.

The decline was “largely driven by declines in reported bloodstream infections overall, likely due to less social confusion, improved hand hygiene and changes in access to healthcare and delivery,” the UKHSA said in a statement Wednesday.

However, an analysis of the bacteria that most commonly cause bloodstream infections, including E. coli, showed that while the total number of bloodstream infections decreased in 2020 compared to 2016, the overall proportion of antibiotic-resistant infections increased over the same period. time. , – added in the agency.

With one in five people with an infection in 2020 going to have antibiotic resistance, the UKHSA warned that the data “suggests that the number of resistant infections is likely to rise in the post-pandemic years and will require sustained action.”


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