As flu cases rise, IMA warns against overuse of antibiotics | News from India

NEW DELHI: The Indian Medical Association (I’M A) issued a cautionary note against misuse of antibiotics while flu cases continue to soar in the country.
In a statement, the medical corps said many people are taking it antibiotics on their own to manage febrile illness (fever) and cough that may be due to seasonal flu. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said this year that influenza A H3N2, a subtype of virus that causes influenza (influenza), is predominant and is known to cause more hospitalizations than other influenza subtypes .
“Infection caused by H3N2 is self-limiting in most cases and people don’t need high-end antibiotics to manage it. But we often come across patients who have taken antibiotics such as Azithromycin and Amoxiclav on their own. This is harmful and can cause drug resistance,” said Dr Narender Saini, chair of IMA’s committee on antimicrobial resistance.
Even during the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Saini, one of the key crises has been the overuse of drugs, including antibiotics.
In a notice last year, the ICMR called on doctors to avoid using antibiotics for conditions such as low-grade fever and viral bronchitis, among others. The health research agency has also advised doctors to follow a timeline when prescribing antibiotics.
For example, ICMR guidelines have suggested that antibiotics should be prescribed for five days for community-acquired pneumonia and eight days for hospital-acquired pneumonia.
“A discontinuation date should be planned and recorded in advance to ensure that antibiotics are not given beyond the recommended duration,” the guidelines state.
Antimicrobial resistance or AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to drugs, making infections more difficult to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, serious illness and death. Self-medication is another major reason behind the rise of antimicrobial resistance, say medical experts.
Recently, a multi-center survey conducted by the ICMR to identify the trend of antibiotic resistance across the country showed that Acinetobacter baumannii, a gram-negative bacterium known to cause infection in the blood, urinary tract and lungs, among the others, was resistant to antibiotics.
The survey found that 87.5% of Acinetobacter baumannii samples tested in 2021 were resistant to carbapenem, a high-end antibiotic. This, the researchers said, has limited the treatment option in people suffering from infection caused by the bacteria.


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