War in Ukraine has created germs “alarmingly” resistant to last-resort antibiotics, CDC says

Hospital patients in Ukraine are experiencing an increase in infections with bacteria resistant to antimicrobial medicines, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed, cited by CBS News.

Ukraine was already facing high rates of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) before the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

The country’s health systems, after the start of the war, were saturated and there was an exponential growth of patients with traumatic injuries, which has led to a increase in multidrug-resistant infections in Ukraine and neighboring countries, a CDC report released Thursday said.

Ukrainian soldiers fight in the Avdiivka region of Ukraine on December 7, 2023.
Ukrainian soldiers fight in the Avdiivka region of Ukraine on December 7, 2023.
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AMR is considered one of the main health threats on the planet and, according to several studies cited by CBS News, causes more deaths in the world than HIV and malaria.

Antimicrobial medications are used to combat and prevent infectious diseases and among them are antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics.

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The CDC report, cited by CBS News, also detected problems in infection prevention and control efforts and a slowness in laboratories to detect infections, which increases the risks of disease spread.

To prepare the CDC report, the Ukrainian Public Health Center and its regional partners undertook the task of analyzing infections in three medical centers in that country.

“To address the alarming rise in antimicrobial resistance in Ukraine, UPHC, with the help of international partners, is developing locally targeted and implemented measures to address antimicrobial resistance and will need continued support to scale them up nationally,” they wrote.

In the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, it was indicated that about 60% of patients with infections in Ukraine were fighting germs resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. The CDC describes these types of antibiotics as the “last line of defense” that doctors use to fight bacteria when other options don’t work.

By way of comparison, a study carried out in the European Union between 2016 and 2017 revealed that only 6.2% of patients suffered from infections that could be explained by deficiencies in medical care.

Aid to Ukraine

Last Monday, the Biden Administration warned lawmakers that by the end of the year Washington would run out of money to deliver more weapons to Ukraine.

The Biden administration has asked Congress for more than $105 billion to fund assistance to Ukraine, Israel and U.S. border security measures. But House Republicans they rejected the request.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., indicated Monday that democracy around the world would be at risk if Russian President Vladimir Putin were allowed to prevail against the former Soviet republic.