The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in a study found that over half of those COVID-19 patients who had developed a secondary infection died. The ICMR conducted the study in across 10 hospitals of the country.
The ICMR conducted the retrospective study of secondary infections among patients admitted in intensive care units (ICU) and wards of 10 hospitals between June and August 2020.
The study has shown that many Covid-19 patients develop a secondary bacterial or fungal infection during treatment or after and these have led to death in over half of the cases.
Out of the 17,534 patients, 3.6% developed a secondary bacterial or fungal infection and the mortality among these patients was 56.7%. The mortality rate was manifold in case of secondary infections as against the overall mortality of Covid-19 patients admitted at hospitals, the study said.
The survey studied the demographic data, time of infection after admission, microbiological and antimicrobial resistance data of secondary infections, and clinical outcome data of the admitted Covid-19 patients.
“Blood and respiratory sites were the most common sites of secondary infection in Covid-19 patients,” observed the ICMR study. Bacteria’s were found predominant in respiratory infections,” the study observed.
The study has further pointed at drug-resistant pathogens playing a significant role behind these secondary infections which says that many patients needed potent antibiotics that are on the watchlist of WHO and are meant to be used judiciously as they had superbugs and couldn’t be treated with regular antibiotics.
“As most of the secondary infections in our study were nosocomial in origin, and that too with highly drug-resistant pathogens, it highlighted poor infection control practices and irrational antibiotic prescription practices,” said the ICMR study.
In a caution, the ICMR study has said, “Predominance of gram-negative pathogens in Covid-19 patients coupled with high rates of resistance to higher generation antimicrobials is an alarming finding.”
The experts have warned against the irrational use of antibiotics not only to save lives, but also to prevent drug-resistant infections from spreading.