A new study has revealed that about 800,000 infants die every year in India as a result of bacterial infections that have become very resistant to antibiotic treatments. This antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections killing thousands of children every year in India is becoming a worrisome development to governments and healthcare professionals, and it is already spreading to countries like the United States, Japan, Oman, and France.
According to Dr. Vinod Paul, the chief of pediatrics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, “Reducing newborn deaths in India is one of the most important public health priorities in the world, and this will require treating an increasing number of neonates who have sepsis and pneumonia. But if resistant infections keep growing, that progress could slow, stop or even reverse itself. And that would be a disaster for not only India but the entire world.”
Over 58,000 infants died in India in 2013, and the rate of newborn deaths in India accounts for nearly one-third of incidents worldwide. Health authorities are afraid that the growing trend of treatment-resistant infections could defeat the efforts of government authorities at containing the incident.
“Five years ago, we almost never saw these kinds of infections,” says Dr. Neelam Kler of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, “Now, close to 100 percent of the babies referred to us have multidrug resistant infections. It’s scary,” she added.
Health researchers have adduced the incidence of children diseases immune to specialized antibiotics to the overwhelming presence of bacteria in India’s water, animals, soil, sewage, and even in unhygienic mothers. Newborns have very low immunity to bacteria infections and so become prone to childhood diseases.
Dr. Timothy Walsh of Cardiff University, UK, states that “India’s dreadful sanitation, uncontrolled use of antibiotics and overcrowding coupled with a complete lack of monitoring the problem has created a tsunami of antibiotic resistance that is reaching just about every country in the world.”
About 70% of infections found in about 12,000 newborns were traced to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and most of these were found to have been contracted in several government-run hospitals. With the disease spreading to other countries, it is high time world governments took this seriously and international pharmaceuticals rise to the occasion with new and more powerful antibiotics.