Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is advancing

By Skipr Redactie | 19 June 2019

Due to unbridled use of antibiotics worldwide, more and more bacteria are insensitive to medicines. The United Nations calls it a life-threatening problem and warns that by 2050 the number of deaths worldwide due to these bacteria can rise to ten million a year.

Too often antibiotics are used according to the UN, while it is actually not necessary. As a result, bacteria are becoming increasingly insensitive to it and simple infections can lead to serious life-threatening situations.

Antibiotics via the internet

One of the causes for the growth of resistance is the internet. It is always easy to order antibiotics all over the world. However, their use is too often supervised by a doctor. Professor Tim Walsh from Cardiff, the global authority in the field of resistance to infectious drugs, calls humanity’s stupidity “truly spectacular” in this regard.

Lack of supervision also plays a part in the ever-growing medical tourism, according to the professor from Wales. Many thousands of people from the Middle East travel to Thailand or India to get surgery, and pick up bacteria there, according to Walsh, which they take home.

Bowel bacterium

Hospitals in the Netherlands are increasingly confronted with this. The Zaans Medical Center is currently struggling with a stubborn intestinal bacterium that is resistant to antibiotics and probably from India or Pakistan. Last month, a vulnerable elderly patient died of a urinary tract infection, probably caused by this bacterium. In the meantime, the hospital appears to be in control of the outbreak.

In comparison with other countries, we are handling it well in the Netherlands, says Jan Kluytmans, professor of epidemiology of healthcare-related infections at UMC Utrecht on Zorgvisie. “We make it into a problem, we don’t want it and we solve it. Maybe the attention sometimes goes a bit too far. But in other countries, such as Italy and Greece, a similar form of resistance has become almost normal in hospitals. The Netherlands is a safe haven in the field of antibiotic resistance. The policy here is that we do not accept it. "

European research shows that there are 33,000 deaths a year due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, reports the NOS. Almost a third of these deaths are in Italy. Germany is also struggling with resistant bacteria, according to the news site. For example, the MSRA bacterium is ten times more common than in the Netherlands.

However, the bacterium does not stop at the national border, warns professor of medical microbiology of the University Medical Center Groningen Alex Friedrich at the NOS. Joint policy with other countries is therefore indispensable.

Skipr Redactie, "Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is advancing", 19 June 2019. [pdf in dutch]

Continue reading about the antibiotic resistant bacteria (in dutch).