Treatment costly

Najaf hospital urges precautions against antibiotic resistant bacteria

NAJAF – Officials from Al-Sadr Teaching Hospital in Najaf are urging all medical facilities to adopt precautionary measures against the spread of a highly drug-resistant bacterium recently identified in the area.

This bacterium, which shows resistance to a variety of antibiotics, poses a significant risk to individuals with compromised immune systems. Although treatments exist, they are expensive. The Najaf Health Department has reassured residents that the situation is under control and there is no reason for concern.

A medical source in Najaf reported that in December, the hospital’s management identified seven patients in the Respiratory Care Unit infected with the bacteria, which was shown resistance to nearly all antibiotics, posing a significant challenge to treatment efforts.

The bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii, also known as the Iraqibacter due to its emergence during the Iraq War, was first identified in December of the previous year at Sadr Medical City. In the first month of this year, infections involving both this bacterium and a new, more resistant strain, Klebsiella pneumoniae, have been recorded.

Abdul Aal Al-Ghazali, Director of Al-Sadr Teaching Hospital, told 964media that such bacteria periodically affect their patients, particularly those in surgical wards and intensive care units, especially targeting those with severely weakened immune systems. The hospital has undergone extensive fumigation.

The Ministry of Health has made the treatment for this bacterium, Colistin, available, although it is costly—100,000 dinars per injection, with patients requiring two injections daily for five days to fully eradicate the bacterium.

Maher Al-Aboudi, Director of Health Media in Najaf, has calmed public fears by stating that all necessary measures, including the fumigation and sterilization of the Respiratory Care Unit, have been implemented. The situation is well in hand, and there is no need for alarm as the bacterium naturally does not affect individuals with strong immune systems.

The increase in drug-resistant bacteria poses a significant challenge to public health worldwide, emphasizing the necessity for advanced research in antibiotic development and stringent infection control practices to combat this evolving threat.