Antibiotic resistance varies with age and sex

New research finds age, sex, and location crucial in assessing antibiotic resistance


A recent study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has revealed that age, sex, and location play a crucial role in assessing the antibiotic resistance of bacterial infections. The research, which analyzed data on bloodstream infections of nearly 9.5 lakh individuals across 29 European countries, found that these factors are important in understanding the development of antibiotic resistance in bacterial infections.

The study observed that gender played a significant role in antimicrobial resistance, with men being at a higher risk of developing it than women. Additionally, the participants' resistance to various bacterial species peaked at different stages of their lives, with the peaks related to most of these species being seen at the youngest and oldest ages. For example, the superbug MRSA becomes more resistant with increasing age of the host, whereas resistance of E. coli decreased with age. The researchers also found that the incidence of bloodstream infections due to E. coli peaked between ages 15 and 40 for women.

This study is significant as it highlights the complexity of antibiotic resistance and the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to it. The study's findings could potentially inform more targeted approaches to combatting antibiotic resistance and improving public health outcomes globally.

The findings, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, shed light on the gaps in our knowledge of the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance. The authors emphasized the need for data from a wider range of sources to determine the contribution that cultural versus natural history differences have in driving these patterns globally and the role they play in the increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance being seen.

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