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Superbug ‘pandemic’ stalks India as antibiotic resistance jumps 10% in a year


India faces a “pandemic” of superbugs, the country’s top public health experts have warned, as resistance to common antibiotics has jumped by 10% in just one year

In the fifth edition of its annual report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the Indian Council of Medical Research warned that urgent action is needed to prevent a major health crisis caused by the rampant misuse of antibiotics.

“The resistance level is increasing to five to ten per cent every year for broad spectrum antimicrobials, which are highly misused,” said Dr Kamini Walia, who led the ICMR’s report.

“Antibiotic resistance has the potential of taking the form of a pandemic in the near future if corrective measures are not taken immediately.”

The report warned that only 43% of pneumonia infections in India could be treated with first line antibiotics in 2021 – down from 65% in 2016.

“We could absolutely see a pandemic driven by AMR infections in India,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the One Health Trust, a global public health think tank. “It is certainly within the realms of possibility, it could be next year or over the next two decades.

“Bacterial infections were the biggest killers in the early 20th Century and we risk going back to that time where there are no effective antibiotics and infections can spread rapidly,” he added.

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Source: The Telegraph, 16 September 2022

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