Bacterial co-infections, secondary infections and antimicrobial use among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the sixth wave in Pakistan: findings and implications

Zia Ul Mustafa*, Arfa Batool, Hadia Ibrar, Muhammad Salman, Yusra Habib Khan, Tauqeer Hussain Mallhi, Johanna C. Meyer, Brian Godman*, Catrin E. Moore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Previous studies in Pakistan have shown considerable over prescribing of antibiotics in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 despite very low prevalence of bacterial infections. Irrational use of antibiotics will worsen antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Methods: Retrospective analysis of medical records of patients in the COVID-19 wards of three tertiary care hospitals to assess antibiotic use during the sixth COVID-19 wave. Results: A total of 284 patients were included, most were male (66.9%), aged 30–50 years (50.7%) with diabetes mellitus the most common comorbidity. The most common symptoms at presentation were cough (47.9%) and arthralgia-myalgia (41.5%). Around 3% were asymptomatic, 34.9% had mild, 30.3% moderate, and 23.6% had severe disease, with 8.1% critical. Chest X-ray abnormalities were seen in 43.3% of patients and 37% had elevated white cell counts, with 35.2% having elevated C-reactive protein levels. Around 91% COVID-19 patients were prescribed antibiotics during their hospital stay, with only a few with proven bacterial co-infections or secondary bacterial infections. Most antibiotics were from the ‘Watch’ category (90.8%) followed by the ‘Reserve’ category (4.8%), similar to previous COVID-19 waves. Conclusion: There continued to be excessive antibiotics use among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Pakistan. Urgent measures are needed to address inappropriate prescribing including greater prescribing of Access antibiotics where pertinent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-240
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • AWaRe classification
  • Antibiotics
  • COVID-19
  • Pakistan
  • antibiotic stewardship programs
  • hospitalized patients
  • tertiary care

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