“Extremely worrying” – alarming discovery of antibiotic resistance in Ukraine

Researchers have discovered an alarming level of antibiotic resistance in bacteria in war-wounded patients in Ukraine. Professor Christian Risbeck highlighted the unprecedented levels of resistance, particularly in… Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria, stressing the need for international aid to address this serious concern.

A team from Lund University in Sweden collaborated with Ukrainian microbiologists to study bacterial resistance in patients who were injured in the war and treated in hospitals.

Recent results published in scalpel Infectious diseases showed that many patients had bacteria with significantly higher antibiotic resistance.

“I am very thick-skinned and have witnessed many situations involving patients and bacteria. However, I must admit that I have never encountered bacteria with such resistance as this before,” says Christian Risbeck, professor of clinical bacteriology at Lund University.

There was never any doubt that we could help when Dr. Oleksandr Nazarchuk, a microbiologist at a university in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, contacted us. Ukraine needed help to assess the extent of antibiotic resistance among severely injured patients in hospitals.

In addition to all the human suffering caused by the war in Ukraine, another battle is now raging – an invisible war against resistant bacteria. This became evident when Christian Risbek and fellow researchers analyzed patient samples from critically injured patients, many with burns, in Ukraine. Patients became infected while in hospital, primarily due to overcrowded wards and damaged infrastructure.

Samples were collected from a total of 141 war victims, 133 adults who had been wounded during the war, and eight infants diagnosed with pneumonia. These patients were admitted to three different hospitals in Ukraine, where they received emergency surgeries and intensive care to treat their conditions.

“We noticed that many Gram-negative bacteria showed resistance to broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents, including newly developed enzyme-inhibiting antibiotics that are not yet available on the market. Furthermore, approximately ten percent of the samples contained bacteria that showed resistance even The antibiotic of last resort is colistin. While we’ve encountered similar cases in India and China before, nothing compares to the extent of resistance observed in this study. Up to six percent of all samples contained bacteria resistant to each An antibiotic we tested.”

He asserts that this clearly highlights the challenges posed by resistant bacteria in times of war. In particular, Christian Risbeck expressed concern about the resistance it had put up Klebsiella pneumoniae Bacteria, because they have the potential to cause disease in people with a healthy, well-functioning immune system.

“This makes me very anxious. It is rare that we encounter Klebsiella With high levels of resistance, it was not what we expected. And while isolated cases have been documented in China, the scale of this situation is greater than anything we’ve seen before. While many countries provide military aid and resources to Ukraine, it is critical to help it address this ongoing situation. “There is a clear risk that more resistant bacteria will spread, and this threatens the entire European region,” says Christian Risbeck.

Reference: “Highly drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infection in war victims in Ukraine, 2022” by Oskar Ljungquist, Oleksandr Nazarchuk, Gunnar Kalmaitre, Vijith Andrews, Thalia Koethan, Lisa Wasserstrom, Dmytro Dmitriev, Nadia Fomina, Vera Bebek, Erika Matuszek and Christian Risbek May 23, 2023 The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(23)00291-8

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