“In the absence of better sanitation and hygiene, we are forced to rely heavily on antibiotics to reduce infections,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, vice president for research and policy at the Public Health Foundation of India. “The result is that we are losing these drugs, and our newborns are already facing the consequences of untreatable sepsis,” or blood infections.
Some health experts and officials here say that these killer bugs are largely confined to hospitals, where heavy use of antibiotics leads to localized colonies.
But India’s top neonatologists suspect the large number of resistant infections in newborns in their first days of life demonstrates that these dangerous bacteria are thriving in communities and even pregnant women’s bodies.
“Our hypothesis is that resistant infections in newborns may be originating from the maternal genital tract and not just the environment,” Dr. Paul said in an interview.
In a continuing study in Delhi at several government-run hospitals that has so far included more than 12,000 high-risk newborns, and was made available to The New York Times, about 70 percent of the babies’ infections were found to be immune to multiple powerful antibiotics, confirming the results of earlier and smaller studies.
New York Times article on the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in India.
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