Food containing antibiotics may lead to antimicrobial resistance: WHO

THE World Health Organisation has warned that some food and water being consumed in the country contains antibiotics that may lead to the development of antimicrobial resistance.

BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA

Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) national action plan and the AMR Situation Analysis Report, WHO representative in Zimbabwe, David Okello said the problem was not just in hospitals, but in farms and food chains.

“Already, massive use of antibiotics by food industries combined with irrational and unprescribed dispensing is largely fuelling the development of antimicrobial resistance. The food that we take and some of the water we buy may contain certain portions of antibiotics, which may cause resistance in the near future,” he said Antimicrobial resistance happens when bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi develop resistance against medicines that were previously able to kill them.

Common and life threatening infections like pneumonia, gonorrhoea, and postoperative infections, as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are increasingly becoming untreatable because of it.

Okello also said there were findings that project that the lack of concerted efforts are instituted by 2050, AMR would lead to 10 million deaths per year, up from the current 700 000, which is more than cancer deaths.

He said that the report also showed that the cumulative costs of AMR to the world would increase up to $1 trillion annually.

Health deputy minister Aldrin Musiiwa said the Zimbabwean situation analysis report found out that there was a significant growth of resistance in common infections such as TB, malaria, HIV, respiratory infections, sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrhoeal diseases.

“Even with the latest typhoid outbreak that took place in this country, we experienced 22% resistance to ciprofloxacin. One major driver of resistance is increased antimicrobial consumption in both humans and animals,” he said.

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