JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use the Site in standard view. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To use standard view, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options.

| Last Updated:: 02/11/2017

Indian rivers teeming with drug resistant bacteria, says report











From the Cauvery in Karnataka to the Yamuna in Delhi big Indian rivers are reservoirs of antibiotic resistant bacteria, exposing millions to increased health risks, notes a new government report. 


Multiple studies carried out on Cauvery water samples highlighted the seriousness of the problem in southern parts of the country. 


There are also studies on the Ganga, Yamuna and a few other rivers, which red flag the increased risks during the festive season when millions take a holy dip. 


In a 2015 study on the Cauvery, 100% of E.coli (bacteria) isolates were found to be resistant to third-generation cephalosporins. The researchers collected 283 river water samples in 2011-2012 and discovered that cent per cent of the bugs isolated from the samples were resistant to Ampicillin and Cefotaxime, while 75% were resistant to Ciprofloxacin. 


Carried out by scientists at Indian Institute of Science and Dayanand Sagar Institutions, both in Bengaluru, Cauvery water samples were collected from 10 hotspots Talakaveri, Napoklu bridge, Kaveri Nisargadhama, Balmurikshetra, Ranganathittu, Srirangapatna, Nanjangud, T Narasipura (Kapila), T Narasipura (Cauvery) and Talakadu. 


Another study involving water samples collected from rivers and sewage treatment plants from the five Indian states of Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana between 2013 and 2014 showed that 37.9% (169) of 446 E.coli isolates were resistant to extended spectrum cephalosporins. 


In addition to resistant bugs, antibiotic resistant genes that confer resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics, including last-resort agents, were detected in major Indian rivers. A third study on Cauvery water samples showed presence of these genes in the river. 


"Major rivers in India like Cauvery and Yamuna have bacteria with high levels of resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics such as third generation cephalosporins," said the new Scoping Report on Antimicrobial Resistance in India, prepared by the Department of Biotechnology in partnership with Research Councils United Kingdom. 



Spread by bathing 



The Scoping report quotes a study that shows 20 times higher presence of an antibiotic resistant gene in the Ganges during the pilgrimage season than at other times of the year. This indicates how these genes can spread during mass bathing. 


The report was released on Wednesday at a function attended by ministers from both nations. It would be the foundation of a 13 million pound UK-India research programme to come up with solutions to tackle the emerging public health challenge. 



Highest resistance 



While drug resistance is a global public health threat, nowhere in the world it is as stark as in India, which has some of the highest antibiotic resistance rates among bacteria that commonly spread infections in the community and healthcare facilities. 


Poor infection control, misuse of antibiotics, barely regulated poultry and livestock sector and irrational medicines are known cases of antimicrobial resistance. The report highlights how the rivers and groundwater have been contaminated by drug-resistant bacteria, augmenting the vulnerability of people using that water.








Source: Deccan Herald