HARTFORD – A new report from the World Health Organization came to a paradoxical yet worrying conclusion about antibiotic use…
HARTFORD – A new report from the World Health Organization came to a paradoxical yet worrying conclusion about antibiotic use worldwide. An increase in drug-resistant bacteria can be traced to both countries using antibiotics, AND some countries underuse them.
The report looked at antibiotic use in 65 countries and found widely varying levels of use. Mongolia peaked the list of 64 defined daily doses per 1,000 people. As a reference, Europe was on average 18. Burundi had the lowest rate, at 4.4 doses per 1,000 people, a result that suggests the country and a number of others may not have sufficient access to antibiotic use.
Typical antibiotics have been used cited as the cause of a large increase of drug resistant bacteria, to the point that some experts argue that the world is running out of effective antibiotics.
Dr. Michael White, from the UConn School of Pharmacy, said that single use of antibiotics also plays a role.
“They have a bacterial infection they take. One and a half days later they feel very good so they decide they will not take the rest of it and the infection will return.” He said, “they have killed by the weak ones, they have reduced the number of bacteria so they feel better, but the strong ones are still there, the strong ones have survived, and you’ve only exposed them to it and then they’re more likely to become resistant. “
White said, while more new antibiotics developed, so is another line of attack – probiotics. Think of it like fighting with fire, or at least fighting bacteria with bacteria.
“The idea behind probiotics is not that you try to kill the bacteria that may be bad, but what you are trying to do is try to crowd them out,” White said. “You try to get them so you build an obstacle or a wall so they’re less likely to grow over.”