Saturday, November 04, 2006

Microbial resistance to antibiotics

Antibiotics are overused in Mongolia. Powerful antibiotics, generally Russian-made, are available over-the-counter in UB, and people take them often. When I have been ill, my friends have consistently advised me to take antibiotics. As I understand it, however, taking antibiotics indiscriminately, and especially for short durations, leads to microbes evolving resistance to the drugs.

This letter from 2001 concerns gonorrhoea:

"We read with interest 'The antibiotic susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolated in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia' by Lkhamsuren. We also found high levels of resistance to penicillin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin. Of the 13 isolates which were successfully transported to our reference laboratory in Birmingham, Alabama. . . 3/13 (23%) were chromosomally resistant to penicillin, 2/13 (15.4%) were chromosomally resistant to tetracycline. . . We agree with the authors that antibiotic resistance is a significant problem in Ulaanbaatar and that a surveillance system for antimicrobial resistance is needed."

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