August 27, 2007 / 3:39 AM / in 12 years

China says worried by drug resistant pneumonia

BEIJING (Reuters) - Almost 70 percent of child pneumonia patients in a recent Chinese survey were resistant to drugs used to treat the disease due to overuse of antibiotics, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

The figure climbed to nearly 90 percent in a more targeted study of three children’s hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, said the official Health News, published by the ministry.

The main survey was carried out on 2,865 children aged five and below being treated for pneumonia in Beijing, Shanghai Guangzhou and the southern city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, the newspaper said.

“Antibiotics are an effective way of treating pneumonia, but because in recent years there has been an overuse of antibiotics, drug resistance is getting more and more serious,” it added.

“This makes it a lot harder to treat and raises the economic burden,” the newspaper quoted Deng Li, a professor at a Guangzhou children’s hospital, as saying.

Experts almost universally agree that antibiotics are overused around the world, and that this overuse has helped new, drug-resistant strains of bacteria to evolve.

Medicine abuse is making about 10,000 Chinese children deaf each year, state media said in April, putting the blame firmly on doctors and parents alike for the overuse of antibiotics.

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