‘Cholera to get more virulent due to bad antibiotics’

A professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, Titilayo Fakeye has argued that Nigerians should expect cholera outbreaks to be more severe as its sporadic cases continue to occur in the country because Vibrio cholera, the germ that causes it, had developed 100 per cent resistance to commonly available antibiotics used for its treatment in the country.

Fakeye who spoke during a two-day international webinar titled “Antimicrobial Resistance: Current Perspective and Future Challenge” by Shoolini University, India, said that resistance of cholera-causing germs to antibiotics had become a problem since 2010.

According to him, “by 2010, it has gone as high as 100 per cent and that is a problem especially with the current small outbreaks of cholera in south-west Nigeria.”

The expert declared that so many disease-causing germs in the country had developed resistance to most available antibiotics due to self medication, misuse of antibiotics, improper disposal of leftover antibiotics, misuse of antibiotics in animal husbandry as well as the importation of resistant strains of germs.

She added, “in a study, one out of four university women surveyed in south western Nigeria self medicates with antibiotics to treat menstrual symptoms; so you can see that we have a lot of misuse of antimicrobials. Imagine, somebody who wants to visit the brothel takes Metronidazole, marketed under the brand name Flagyl, and other antibiotics in other to prevent sexually transmitted diseases which we know will not work.

“But to me, the major problem that we have is the frequent use of antimicrobials in local dairy cows in north-central Nigeria which is the food basket of the nation.”

Dr Abiodun Egwuenu, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Programme Manager, Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), who declared that half of antimicrobial agents used in agriculture are unnecessary, opined that controlling AMR is important to prevent a re-emergence of HIV, TB and malaria epidemic or these diseases getting worse.

Dr Egwuenu said laws and policies regulating antimicrobial use in the country are outdated and do not take cognisance of the effect of antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Oladoja Awofisayo, a lecturer and pharmacist at the University of Uyo, suggested repurposing existing drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as alternatives to antimicrobials in the treatment of many infectious diseases.

Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences and Biotechnology of the Shoolini University, India, Professor Anuradha Sourirajan said antimicrobial resistance in disease-causing germs is a silent pandemic and a threat to the treatment of otherwise simple infections.

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