As many as 40% of newborns and children in Chattogram are getting infected by at least three types of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms that cannot be fought by drugs, researchers said.
After surveying 1,000 patients at two Chattogram hospitals for two years, they have also warned of the growing ineffectiveness of antibiotics among adolescents and youths.
"In the research, around 50% were children. Of them, 40% were carrying at least three infections which are resistant to antibiotics," Dr Wazir Ahmed of Chattogram Maa-O-Shishu Hospital, one of the researchers, told The Business Standard.
The physician feared treatment of the children will be almost impossible in future if they further develop more resistance to other antibiotics.
The research that worked on five age groups ranging from neonates to citizens above 60 got published in the international journal PLoS ONE on 10 September.
Referring to the findings, Dr Wazir said 40% of the adults aged 15 and above showed resistance to at least three antibiotics. Plus, 70% of people were resistant to at least one antibiotic.
"Overuse of antibiotics and unfinished antibiotic courses lead to antibiotic resistance. Plus, antibiotics in poultry feed can cause antibiotic resistance to humans. It can be transmitted to the baby from the lactating mother," said the researcher.
Dr Wazir said, "The research found a high prevalence of multi-drug resistant KPN strain among pneumonia patients in Chittagong."
The physician said they found three of every four male individuals who previously suffered from pneumonia show antibiotic resistance to three or more drugs.
The research looked at the effectiveness of 20 antibiotics that Chattogram doctors commonly prescribe to fight off klebsiella pneumonia that typically causes nosocomial infections — which also go by hospital-acquired infections.
In this regard, antibiotics under cefuroxime, cefixime, cefotaxime and ceftazidime generics exhibited the lowest effectiveness, while cefuroxime, cefixime, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, cefepime and ceftriaxone were found 79%, 77%, 74.9%, 71%, 66%, and 65% ineffective against the bacteria.
The research found most of the patients developed antibiotic-resistant hospital-acquired infections from the hospital basins, drainage flow, hospital bed and walls.
The researchers also detected multiple genes that help develop antibiotic resistance.
"The presence of antibiotic-resistant gene NDM-1 has been observed the most, which is about 60%. Besides, the presence of SHV-11 was found to be at 40% and the proliferation of the UGE gene was at about 30%," the researcher noted.
He emphasised regular monitoring and regular clinical detection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and plasmids to prevent public health disasters.
Other researchers were Chattogram University genetic engineering and biotechnology teacher Adnan Mannan and Md Mahbub Hasan, and Chattogram Maa-O-Shishu Hospital microbiology department chief Nahid Sultana.
Adnan Mannan was the principal researcher while Chattogram university student Afroza Akter Tanni assisted in the research.
The research was funded by the Research & Publication Office of Chattogram University and supported by the Disease Biology and Molecular Epidemiology Research Group Chattogram.