Al-Akhbar: The “silent epidemic” kills the Lebanese … 18% of children incubate bacteria that resist anti-inflammatory drugs


Under the title “18% of Lebanese children are embracing drug-resistant bacteria:” The silent epidemic “kills the Lebanese.” Hadeel Farfour wrote an article in “Al-Akhbar” newspaper in which she said that “18% of children in Lebanon, two years old and under, carry bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.” This is the second highest percentage in the world after Bolivia, and “is higher than our estimates, which indicate that the prevalence of immune genes reaches 30%, and it may exceed that to exceed the rates recorded even in Bolivia,” according to the professor of microbiology and food sciences at the College of Medicine. Food and Agricultural Sciences at the American University Ismat Kassem.

In this context, the author pointed out in her article that in a new study prepared by a research team headed by Qassem in the Food Microbiology Laboratory at the American University of Beirut, in cooperation with the American University of Georgia, it included 72 children from nurseries in five cities (Beirut, Saida, Tripoli, and Choueifat) And Jounieh), after their diapers were tested for e.coli bacteria, it was found that 13 of them carried mcr genes.

This gene is resistant to all antibiotics, including “colistin”, one of the most effective antibiotics that is usually resorted to after the failure of the rest of the antibiotics, and is known as the “last resort” in difficult cases. It is estimated that, between 2010 and 2017, the use of this drug in Lebanon increased five times due to its importance, as one of the most important means of treating infections. Here is where the danger lies, because the loss of this drug – as with other antibiotics – for its effectiveness means a return to the era before the emergence of antibiotics, and that diseases that could have been treated with antibiotics will return again, deadly diseases again. Meaning that many medical procedures, such as Caesarean sections, organ transplants and chemotherapy, may become risky. The World Health Organization describes antibiotic resistance as a “silent epidemic”, and in a study published in 2016, it considered one of the “greatest threats to global health” and “may cause the death of about 10 million people annually by 2050.”

The study according to its authors, the author continued in her article, was based on modern scientific techniques that made it possible to determine the source of bacteria in the environment and food. Kassem pointed out that the samples were taken from nurseries licensed by the Ministry of Health and have higher standards of compliance and efficiency than others, “and where it is assumed that the quality of food and the mechanism for protecting children are the best.” Therefore, it concludes that these numbers give an indication of a significant increase in the prevalence of immunity genes among the rest of the children in the rest of the role, especially those that do not adhere to health conditions, and therefore in the rest of society. “And when these numbers appear among children, whose food and health are often taken care of more than other age groups, this means that we are in a very dangerous situation.”

The same research team had proven in two previous studies that germs in the Lebanese sea acquired immunity against most anti-inflammatory drugs, including the drug “Colistin” due to the spread of mobile immunity genes, as well as the use of chicken farms in Lebanon, this drug excessively to increase the production of birds and accelerate their fattening. , Led to the spread of the mcr gene resistant to antibiotics, including colistin itself. This drug is used in poultry farms in large quantities and in uncontrolled ways, by dissolving it in drinking water, in a country that has more than 600 chicken farms, and between 50 and 60 million poultry are consumed from local production annually. This study showed that 90% of the bacterial samples taken from multiple poultry farms in the north and south Lebanon contain the mcr gene that is resistant to “colistin”.

Therefore, Qasim asserted the necessity of stopping the use of this drug in the animal agriculture sector, similar to the rest of the countries, especially in the poultry sector, and “imposing restrictions on its import and use due to its severe impact on human health.”

For his part, Director of Livestock at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Elias Ibrahim, told Al-Akhbar that the ministry “follows international standards, and until now, reference countries have not issued any recommendations regarding stopping the use of colistin in poultry farms to treat the digestive system of birds.” Samples collected by the ministry from chicken farms “showed that the use of this drug is very slight and limited.”

However, specialized medical sources questioned this, pointing out that these “samples were taken incorrectly, as samples were taken from the chicken’s muscle, which makes it impossible to show the presence of colistin.” The sources pointed out that the topic “is not related to the size of the drug’s concentration in chickens, but to the effect of its use and its ability to provide the bacteria present with immunity against it.” The sources warned about the influence of the Poultry Breeders Syndicate on the Ministry of Agriculture. “The union always exerts pressure not to ban this drug and prevent its import and use.”

The author pointed out that the focus on stopping the use of colistin in chicken farms is due to the fact that the majority of samples in the previous study showed that the source of the bacteria is from chicken farms. The focus of the new study on the spread of the mcr gene mobile in e coli does not rule out the possibility of transmission to more dangerous bacteria. And here is the main concern, as the fear is linked to the transmission of immune genes to more severe types of bacteria, making them difficult to treat.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here