Spurt in resistance to anti-fungal drugs, 10-12 cases every day

  • Tanbir Dhaliwal, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Nov 16, 2015 10:11 IST

The cases of emergence of resistance to anti-fungal drugs are on the rise. The PGIMER for the last two years has been witnessing a large number of cases where people suffering from ringworm infection are not responding to the commonly used anti-fungal drugs.

Health experts from the medical microbiology department of PGIMER said that taking medications by consulting internet instead of doctors, non-completion of dosage and excessive use of anti-fungal pesticides on crops are the main reasons behind it. The department receives 10 or 12 cases of ringworm (dermatophytosis) every day. It is a fungal infection of the skin, which presents itself with red patches on affected areas of the skin and later spreads to other parts of the body.

“The antifungal drugs which are generally given to treat ringworm are Terbinafine and Itraconazole. But many patients have stopped responding to the drugs nowadays. We have seen that the disease emerges with more severity after the treatment gets over,” said Dr Shivaprakash, professor, department of medical microbiology, PGIMER.

He added the drugs resist in around 20% of patients and the number has suddenly shot up in the last two years. “At PGIMER, we have also initiated a study wherein around 200 patients have been enrolled,” he said.

The doctor also informed about the resistance to antifungal drug Voriconazole which is used to cure common fungal infection aspergillus.“The spores of aspergillus fungus are present in the air and do not usually cause infection. However, it can cause allergic reactions, lung infections, and infections in other organs among people with weakened immune systems, suffering from lung diseases,” said Dr Shivaprakash.

At PGIMER, around 25 cases of probable invasive aspergillus are reported per month.

Talking about the reason, the doctor said, “Aspergillus is the main fungus that destroys crop. Farmers use antifungal DMI in large quantities which makes the fungus resistant to drugs. When the same fungus causes infection in humans, it resists to treatment.”

The details were shared by the doctor during the two-day regional conference on fungal infections that started at PGIMER on Saturday.

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