A study conducted in 2013 shows that the danger of antibiotic misuse has been increasing in the region.

The research, conducted by Hosam Mamoon Zowawi at the University of Queensland, Australia, says the reason for the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is the over-use of antibiotics, poor hand hygiene in hospitals and the large population of migrant workers who could have contributed to the spread of the bacteria.

The first systematic review of literature on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain – found a particular strain of potentially deadly superbugs, bacteria that are resistant to the carbapenem group of antibiotics and kill up to half of infected patients, has increased up to 90 per cent over the past two decades.

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is heading for a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” it adds.

The study identifies unique risk factors that could have contributed to the rise and spread of hospital and community-acquired infections across the GCC states, with the unnecessary use of antibiotics standing out as a particular risk.

Superbugs are born and grow from the irrational use of antibiotics and it’s clear from our research that active guidelines must be enforced to restrict their use in the GCC region,” Zowawi says in his study.

Researchers also found that poor hand-hygiene compliance in hospitals and the region’s large population of migrant workers could have contributed to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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