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J Infect Dis. 2001 Nov 1;184(9):1163-9. Epub 2001 Sep 26.

Carriage of antibiotic-resistant fecal bacteria in Nepal reflects proximity to Kathmandu.

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  • 1Departments of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02111, USA. walso001@mc.duke.edu


Within Nepal, geographic, social, and economic barriers greatly limit access to allopathic health care. The country therefore offered the opportunity to evaluate the effect of antibiotic accessibility (as measured by allopathic medicine consumption) on antibiotic resistance in the normal intestinal flora. The aerobic gram-negative fecal flora of 33-34 healthy adults from each of 3 villages with different access to health care facilities in Kathmandu were examined for antibiotic susceptibility. The frequency of antibiotic resistance decreased significantly with increasing distance from Kathmandu and decreasing population density but did not reflect contact with health care providers or individual medicine consumption. The findings suggest that an individual's overall exposure to antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria (resulting from close proximity to other community members and to sources of accessible allopathic health care, such as in the vicinity of Kathmandu), has an equal or greater impact on an individual's carriage of antibiotic-resistant bacteria than does direct consumption of antibiotics.

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