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Research shows resistance of dangerous gut bacteria to antibiotics has increased in Osun State

Sunday Omeika PhD FASLN

Thursday, 15 October 2020

One of the major global concerns is the threat of antibiotic resistance. Advocacy groups have increased warnings that there could be an impending bug war due to increased use of antibiotics- both prescribed and abused- in these auspicious times, and a research in Nigeria has further brought the situation to local consciousness.

The study, led by Adeyemi Kayode, a researcher in the Department of Biological Science, Redeemers University, Ede, in Osun State, is a further confirmation to the increasing trend that antibiotics have become less effective against harmful bacteria.

The report recently made accessible in the Journal of Infection and Public Health examined prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the stomach and intestine regions, and how these bugs respond to commonly used antibiotics in the country.

Urine of individuals predominantly from Osogbo and its suburbs who visited Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital (LAUTECH), Osun State, to treat urinary tract infections within a two-year period was investigated, and the bacteria found were further probed for their sensitivity to the selected antibiotics.

According to the authors, LAUTECH serves an average annual population of about 1,000 individuals that visit for urine-related complaints, and 5,000 patients had visited in the past three years.

They found 61 different bacteria, and individuals predominantly carried Escherichia coli, a common gut bacterium dangerous at high population. Isolates of health concern such as species of Salmonella, Klebsiella, Proteus and Yersinia were also reported.

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Covid 19

Bacteria in a dish

More importantly, they determined that all isolates were resistant to at least 3 of 7 antibiotics, while there was wide variability in resistance to the seven commonly used antibiotics considered. Over 90% of the gut bacteria were most resistant to augmentin, cefuroxime and erythromycin, but would still respond to treatment using gentamycin and Ofloxacin antibiotics.

The disturbing outcome of the study is the observation that almost one-fourth of isolates are resistant to all the antibiotic groups and no isolate was killed by all antibiotics. This portends danger to the society, especially in places that lack proper human waste disposal and management systems and where environmental defecation is dominant.

The authors further advised that there is need for a coordinated action through education on common practices by Nigerians such as incomplete dosage of antibiotics and unregulated use of antibiotics to discourage the spread of antibiotic resistance, while there should also be continuous search for novel antibiotics.


Kayode, A., Okunrounmu, P., Olagbende, A., Adedokuna, O., Hassan, A-W. and Atilola, G., 2020. High prevalence of multiple drug resistant enteric bacteria: Evidence from a teaching hospital in Southwest Nigeria. Journal of Infection and Public Health, 13: 651–656.

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