A new study conducted in Finland shows that the exaggerated use of antibiotics while traveling in order to treat diarrhea is strengthening the resistance of particular germs to such treatments. As a result, scientists advise patients who suffer from this uncomfortable problem to use antibiotics only in severe cases and not do it without medical supervision. Dr. Anu Kantele of Helsinki University Hospital in Finland believes that usually, the cases of diarrhea that appear when people are traveling are mild and resolve on their own, but the panic and the pain that is related to the issue pushes the one in cause to access his supply of medication instantly.
The study has covered information from 430 subjects that have been tested before and after returning from their trip outside of Finland. Drug-resistant bacteria were found in 1 out of 5 patients who had traveled abroad. The regions visited by the travelers where tropical and subtropical ones.
Another important percentage noted was of the travelers that went to South Asia: 80% of them were treated with antibiotics for their diarrhea and developed resistant gut bacteria in return. The souvenir is also found in high risk regions like East and Southeast Asia, Middle East and North Africa. Kantele states that these regions are visited by about 300 million travelers every year.
“If approximately 20 percent of them are colonized with the bugs, these are really huge numbers. This is a serious thing. The only positive thing is that the colonization is usually transient, lasting for around half a year.”
An interesting but yet worrisome fact is that those who contacted the bacteria had few symptoms, but were able to spread the microbe in the territory they came back to. According to the study, travelers should be particularly cautious with their use of antibiotics in such situations in order to lower the quantity of men and women who get infected with resistant bacteria. Also, it has been found that 37% of those who took the antibiotics, actually became colonized; for those who traveled to South Asia, the percentage is considerably bigger: 80% of them contracted the ESBL producing organism.
The study has been recently published on the 22nd of January in the Clinical Infectious Diseases.
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