Researchers at Bristol University and the Imperial College London have found an increase in antimicrobial resistance in cases where urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children are caused by E coli. In countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), like Canada, some common antibiotics used to treat UTIs can be ineffective in as many as 50% of cases. As a result, the immune systems of the world’s youth are quickly becoming unable to fight off common infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that antimicrobial resistance could kill as many as 10 million people per year by 2050.
The research was compiled from 58 studies previously done, which examined a total of almost 78,000 UTI cases that were linked to bacteria in 26 different countries. Of these, it was found that E coli caused about 80% and was considered a relatively common infection for youth to contract. It was estimated that one in 10 girls and one in 30 boys will have an UTI by the age of 16, and of these cases, 50% are given 1 prescription, 25% are given 2 prescriptions, and 25% are prescribed three or more antibiotics. The report suggests general practitioners rely on antibiotics too easily and should use them less frequently. Researchers noted that a resulting danger of the drug resistance is health professionals prescribing alternatives that don’t offer the same remedy, or have different side effects, in place of the antibiotics that are no longer effective. The resistance is found to be higher in children younger than five years of age and more common in countries outside of the OECD. The report released by the Academy of Management Review Journal also says that there are more than 700,000 deaths from drug-resistant illness each year.
The Telegraph is the largest news outlet to provide coverage of the drug resistance, alongside independent outlets like The Guardian.
Denis Campbell, “Antibiotics becoming ineffective at treating some child infections,” The Guardian, March 15, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/15/antibiotics-becoming-ineffective-at-treating-some-child-infections.
Laura Donnelly, “Half of children resistant to the most common antibiotics,” The Telegraph, March 15, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/12195011/Half-of-children-resistant-to-the-most-common-antibiotics.html.
MandeepDhaliwal, “Antibiotic resistance is not theoretical: the threat is real and immediate,” The Guardian, March 11, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/11/antibiotics-drug-resistance-is-not-theoretical-threat-real-immediate.
Student Researcher: Alex Antoneshyn (University of Regina)
Faculty Evaluator: Patricia W. Elliott (University of Regina)