Overuse of antibiotics killing Thais at high rate

Overuse of antibiotics killing Thais at high rate

Antibiotics are among the most powerful and important medicines. They can save lives when used properly but can be extremely harmful when over-used.
Antibiotics are among the most powerful and important medicines. They can save lives when used properly but can be extremely harmful when over-used.

Overuse of antibiotics is especially bad in Thailand, with 100 dying every day from resistance, worse than all of Europe, a researcher says.

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Expert warns antibiotic misuse could turn deadly

Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

Up to 38,000 Thais could be dying from antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually because of overprescription and the prevalence of the drugs in food and the water supply, research has found.

Drug System Monitoring Mechanism Development Centre manager Niyada Kiatying-Angsulee said her research found Thailand had a worryingly high fatality rate due to antibiotic resistance, but the problem was hidden because the cause of death was usually listed as something else.

Dr Niyada said with people being routinely exposed to antibiotics, both directly and indirectly, there was a greater chance for bacteria to become resistant and deadly.

“At least 100 people die per day in Thailand alone from antibiotic resistance,” Dr Niyada said. “You may not think it is a big problem unless the person affected is someone you know. But it killed as many people as deadly diseases like cancer.”

Dr Niyada, a drug researcher and assistant professor at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of pharmaceutical sciences, presented her initial research for Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015, held from Tuesday to Thursday. Her final results are expected by the end of the year.

Dr Niyada has examined antibiotic resistance in Thailand, Europe and America, finding there were 77,000 cases where it caused death. Thailand had 38,000 cases, which was greater than all of Europe, which recorded 25,000 deaths. She acknowledged the data was limited and said Thailand had only become focused on the problem in the past three years.

Dr Niyada said it was important to be aware of the dangers of antibiotic resistance.

“When you go to see the doctor and they prescribe you antibiotic pills, you have every right to ask the doctor if your symptoms are caused by a virus or bacteria,” Dr Niyada said. “If it is bacteria then take the pills, if it is a virus then say no.”

Yet even patients who refuse to take antibiotics are not necessarily safe. According to DMD research, meat, fruit and vegetables in Thai markets have all been found to contain antibiotics.

Research conducted in 2012 by Siriraj Hospital and the National Institute of Health found 56.7% of chicken meat bought from Bangkok supermarkets breached the limit of allowable bacteria, and multidrug-resistant types were found.

Dr Niyada warned people could also be exposed to antibiotics from the water supply, as waste from animals treated with antibiotics ends up in river networks which are used to irrigate crops.

Dr Niyada said patients with antibiotic-resistant diseases get sick easily and do not easily recover with conventional means.

"All patients have the right to know what they are taking. So please ask the doctor what the name of the pill is. If it is avoidable, do not take antibiotics too often,” Dr Niyada said.

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  • acknowledge: to accept or admit that something exists, is true or is real - ยอมรับ
  • allowable (adj): that is allowed, especially by law or by a set of rules - ที่อนุญาตได้
  • annually: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด
  • antibiotic (adj): relating to antibiotics, drugs that cure illnesses and infections caused by bacteria - เกี่ยวกับยาปฏิชีวนะ
  • antibiotics: drugs that cure illnesses and infections caused by bacteria - ยาปฏิชีวนะ
  • assistant: a person who helps or supports somebody, usually in their job - ผู้ช่วย
  • avoidable (adj): that can be prevented - หลีกเลี่ยงได้
  • aware (adj): knowing that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing - ทราบ, รับรู้
  • awareness: knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing - การรับรู้, การทราบ, ความตระหนัก
  • bacteria: the simplest and smallest forms of life. Bacteria exist in large numbers in air, water and soil, and also in living and dead creatures and plants, and are often a cause of disease - แบ็กทีเรีย, เชื้อแบกทีเรีย
  • breach (verb): to fail to follow a law, rule or agreement - ละเมิดกฎข้อบังคับ, ละเมิดสัญญา
  • cancer: a serious disease in which growths of cells, also called cancers, form in the body and kill normal body cells. The disease often causes death - มะเร็ง
  • cause: the person or thing that makes something happen - สาเหตุ
  • conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
  • contain: to store or hold something - บรรจุ
  • conventional: usual or normal - ธรรมดา
  • crop: a plant grown for food, usually on a farm - พืชผล
  • data: facts or information, especially when examined and used to find out things or to make decisions - ข้อมูล, ตัวเลข, สถิติ
  • deadly (adj): causing or likely to cause death - เป็นอันตรายถึงตายได้
  • directly (adv): in a direct line or manner; immediately - โดยตรง, ทันที
  • expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
  • exposed: not protected and in direct contact with something harmful - ได้รับสารผิด
  • faculty: a group of departments in a college or university which specialise in a particular subject or group of subjects - คณะ
  • fatality: a death caused by an illness, accident, crime or war - การเสียชีวิต
  • focus: to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another - เพ่งความสนใจ
  • indirectly (adv): not as the main aim, cause or result of something, but in addition to it; not in a direct line or manner - โดยทางอ้อม
  • initial: early; first - เบื้องต้น
  • institute (noun): an organization that has a particular purpose, especially one that is connected with education or a particular profession; the building used by this organisation - สถาบัน,องค์การ,วิทยาลัย,สถาบันหนึ่งของมหาวิทยาลัย
  • irrigate: the process of bringing water to land through a system of pipes, ditches, etc. in order to make crops grow - ระบบชลประทาน
  • limit: the greatest or smallest amount of something that is allowed - ขีดจำกัด
  • limited: not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด
  • means: methods; ways - วิธี, วิธีการ
  • mechanism: a method or a system for achieving something - กลไก, วิธีการทำงาน, วิธีการ
  • misuse (noun): using something in an unsuitable way or in a way that was not intended - การใช้ในทางที่ผิด
  • monitor: keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
  • network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
  • not necessarily: possibly true but not definitely or always true -
  • overperscription (noun): giving a medicine to a patient more often than it should be given - การสั่งจ่ายยาเกินกว่าเหตุผล
  • patient: someone who is receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้
  • pharmaceutical: connected with the production of medicines - เกี่ยวกับเภสัชกรรม, เกี่ยวกับยา
  • pill: a small flat round piece of medicine that you swallow without chewing it - ยาเม็ด
  • prescribe: to tell somebody to take a particular medicine or have a particular treatment; to write a prescription for a particular medicine, etc - สั่งจ่ายยา
  • prevalence: how often something happens or how common it is; predominance, pervasiveness - ความแพร่หลาย, ความดื่นดาษ, prevalence of disease ความชุกของโรค
  • professor: a university teacher of the highest rank - ศาสตราจารย์
  • rate: the level or speed at which something happens or changes, or the amount or number of times it happens or changes in a particular period - อัตรา
  • recover (verb): to become normal and healthy again - ฟื้นฟูสภาพ, ฟื้นฟูร่างกาย
  • refuse: to say you not want something that has been offered to you - ปฏิเสธ
  • research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย
  • researcher: a person who carriers out a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - นักวิจัย
  • resistant (adj): not harmed or affected by something - ต้าน,ต่อต้าน, ต้านทาน
  • routinely: regularly, done often - จำเจ, บ่อยๆ, ซ้ำซาก
  • symptom: a sign that someone has an illness - อาการ
  • treat: to provide medical care - รักษา
  • virus (noun): a living thing, too small to be seen without a microscope, that causes infectious disease in people, animals and plants - เชื้อไวรัส
  • warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน
  • waste (noun): the useless part that is thrown away after something is used - ขยะ, ของเสีย, ที่ไม่มีประโยชน์, การสูญเสียไปโดยเปล่าประโยชน์, การหมดเปลือง
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