Chinese ministry, WHO warn of antibiotic overuse

Apr 07, 2011 By GILLIAN WONG , Associated Press

(AP) -- Drug-resistant forms of diseases such as tuberculosis are on the rise in China because of the overuse of antibiotics and urgent action is needed to reverse the problem, the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization warned Thursday.

Vice Health Minister Ma Xiaowei said at a ceremony to mark World Health Day that he hoped hospitals would push for antibiotics to be used in "scientific and rational" ways.

About 6.8 percent of tuberculosis cases in China are multiple-drug resistant, far higher than the 2 percent rate in most developed countries, said Dr. Michael O'Leary, the WHO's representative in China.

Antibiotics can spur infection-causing bacteria to become drug-resistant if they are overused. Drug-resistant tuberculosis can also arise when people take substandard medicines, a common problem in China. It takes longer to treat than regular TB and requires more expensive drugs, which also cause bad side effects such as .

"Infections caused by resistant often fail to respond to conventional treatment, resulting in prolonged illness and greater risk of death," O'Leary said.

He said that action was needed now because new drugs cannot be developed fast enough to replace the drugs that have lost their effectiveness.

A WHO statement said about 440,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis emerge around the world each year, causing at least 150,000 deaths.

The overuse of antibiotics is very common in China, often because it is a way for hospitals to boost revenue.

Antibiotics are also misused in the food industry, showing up in diverse parts of the from farmed fish to honey.

Dr. Fabio Scano, a WHO medical officer with the TB program in China, said 50 percent of antibiotics used globally are misused on animals in food production. Scano said there's evidence that "the more antibiotics are used, the higher is the in humans."

Explore further: Bangladesh jails three over drug scam that killed hundreds of children (Update)

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fox bid for Time Warner sparks content merger race

2 hours ago

Even though Rupert Murdoch's $76 billion bid for rival media giant Time Warner Inc. has been rejected, that doesn't mean how you watch TV shows and movies will stop changing any time soon.

BlackBerry stock falls after Apple-IBM deal

2 hours ago

Blackberry stock fell sharply Wednesday, one day after the announcement of a landmark deal between rivals Apple and IBM to offer custom-tailored apps for businesses.

Comet ISON's dramatic final hours

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new analysis of data from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has revealed that comet 2012/S1 (ISON) stopped producing dust and gas shortly before it raced past ...

Recommended for you

Journal raises concern about blood-thinning drug

3 hours ago

A medical journal raised concerns Wednesday about a blood-thinning drug widely used by people at risk of stroke, accusing its manufacturer of concealing safety data and regulators of laxness.

Supermaterial gives rejected drugs a new chance

Jul 22, 2014

More than 80 percent of all drug candidates in the pharma R&D suffer from poor solubility and are therefore rejected early in the drug discovery process. Now Uppsala University researchers show that the new ...

Risk of antibiotic overuse in aged care settings

Jul 21, 2014

Antibiotics are being overused in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), and more integrated efforts to improve antibiotic prescribing practices need to be introduced, researchers say. 

User comments : 0