People who have travelled to areas of the world with high rates of antibiotic resistant bacteria such as South Asia and the Middle East are more likely to carry superbugs, a new study has found. Even having a housemate who has travelled to these areas increases the chance of carrying resistant gut bacteria called ESBL producing Enterobacteriaceae, the research showed. Bacteria such as E.coli and Klebsiella which everyone carries in their bowel harmlessly and with no symptoms. Yet occasionally they can get into the wrong part of the body and cause wounds, urinary tract, lung and bloodstream infections which can be deadly.
“We can’t think that antibiotic resistance is someone else’s problem; it isn’t.” Professor Hawkey said. “Poor sanitation and antibiotic control in one country affects another. We’re all interconnected, we’re all travelling more. The people that are more likely to travel to parts of the world where these bacteria are common are the ones more likely to be carrying them. “The results show the perfect storm that is gram negative antibiotic resistance. It’s a quiet storm, it’s not a dramatic outbreak, but it could have dramatic effects.”
They are part of the gram negative family of bacteria known to be becoming much more resistant to antibiotics. If the bacteria have ESBL genes they are resistant to two classes of antibiotics – penicillins and cephalosporins – normally used to treat these infections. This forces doctors to turn to other drugs. Once a person becomes colonised with these superbugs they remain in their gut for six months to a year. “The findings show the problem of antibiotic resistance is global and that bugs bred in one country quickly spread to another due to global travel”, said Professor Peter Hawkey, a microbiologist at the University of Birmingham who carried out the research. It is overuse and misuse of antibiotics that has led to bacteria with ESBL genes forming, and they are just one type of superbug. Across many parts of Asia and other developing countries it is possible to buy antibiotics over the counter with no prescription or diagnosis, for use on humans and on livestock. This has led to unchecked and inappropriate consumption, which fuels resistance to the drugs. Issues with hygiene, water and sanitation in many low and middle income countries exacerbates the problem as it means high numbers of people suffer infectious diseases and carry resistant bacteria in their guts.
Boğazkesen Cad. No:69A