Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) The government should step up monitoring of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in animals and humans, as the infection rate is higher than in the United States and Europe, a health expert said Saturday. Su Yi-jen, director of the National Health Research Institute's (NHRI's) National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, urged the government during an international seminar on new thoughts about control of infections to attach greater importance to the problem. Noting that infection control includes infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in animals and humans, Su said that more than 90 percent of Taiwan's hospital staff dealing with infection control are dealing predominantly with infections related to human-use antibiotics. However, the imported volume of antibiotics used in farm products is eight times higher than that in human medicine and the government should monitor the situation, Su said, adding that an increasing use of antibiotics in farm products can be blamed for increased resistance in people.
For instance, despite measures adopted by hospitals to control methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to multiple antibiotics, the rate of MRSA infection in Taiwan's hospitals has reached 70 percent. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the rate of hospital-acquired MRSA infection is about 34-58 percent in the United States, 26-28 percent in Europe and about 35-38 percent in Latin America, which means that they outperform Taiwan in terms of infection control. To rein in the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, Su suggested that the government should step up the control of antibiotic use by integrating the efforts of hospitals, the agricultural sector and communities. By Lung Ruei-yun and Y.L. Kao)