Addicted to antibiotics (2)

11:00, November 09, 2010      

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(Source: China Daily)

"It says in my medical school textbook that streptococcus pneumoniae, which causes pneumonia, is sensitive to penicillin," said doctor Wang Yang. "But the bacteria has long beaten penicillin, so we have to prescribe more advanced antibiotics to the children."

Shi Yuan, chief physician of pediatrics at Chongqing Daping Hospital, added he has noticed a similar trend among the babies of women who have overused antibiotics during pregnancy, suggesting the possibility of intrauterine infection.

Examples of antimicrobial-resistant youngsters are now widespread, resulting in even simple conditions becoming difficult to treat.

"I know that in the United States pediatricians usually avoid giving children antibiotics. That's because they have a cleaner environment," said Zhou Zhongshu, head of pediatrics at China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing. "We use antibiotics and even advanced antibiotics on our children because we are forced by our environment, which contains antimicrobial-resistant bacteria."

The situation, experts say, is highly alarming, especially as many pathogens (disease-producing micro-organisms) can now successfully battle antibiotic agents.

Gan Xiaoxie is a researcher at Chongqing Cancer Hospital's clinical laboratory, which conducts drug sensitivity tests on blood and phlegm samples. She explained that, 15 years ago, a condition like Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, which causes skin infections, was sensitive to penicillin, "but now we need to kill it with a combination of ultimate-level antibiotics".

"Macrolides (antibiotics), which successfully lowered the death rate from pneumonia three decades ago, are just not that effective anymore," added Tang Taiqin, a professor of pharmacology at Jinan University's No 1 Hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
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