Respiratory infection may be a big killer by 2020

CAIRO — Smoking poses the highest risk for chronic respiratory diseases worldwide, according to a medical conference held recently in Cairo in the presence of experts from seven Arab and Gulf countries.

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Published: Mon 13 Dec 2010, 8:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:19 AM

The ‘10 Years Avalox – Making a difference in antibiotic therapy’ convention organised by Bayer HealthCare early this month in collaboration with the Egyptian Scientific Society of Bronchology underscored how the antibiotic Avalox or moxifloxacin HCl has impacted the management of infectious diseases in the Middle East Region.

As per the World Health Organisation report of 2003, respiratory infections, particularly the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (AECB), topped the list of most worldwide killing diseases spanning AIDS, Diarrhoeal diseases, Tuberculosis or TB and Malaria. They further killed over three million in 2005, hit 210 millions in 2007, and are expected to be third killer disease worldwide in 2020.

Cigarette smoke causes immediate damage to a person’s lungs and their DNA even in small amounts, including from second-hand smoke, US federal officials said on December 9, in a report.

Warning that the prevalence of COPD and AECB will increase in the Middle East and worldwide, the panel of experts said moxifloxacin, despite being used for over a decade in 123 countries, has effectively contributed to the recovery of many patients with respiratory tract infections as well as complicated skin and intra-abdominal diseases.

Dr Basil Safarini, Consultant of respiratory diseases at Rashid Hospital, Dubai said that respiratory infections in the UAE are mainly attributed to smoking cigarettes, pipe and Shisha. “Teenagers, who represent 18 per cent of the total residents here, are mostly vulnerable to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.” Noting that a single hookah equals 55 cigarettes in harm, Dr Safarini said a cigarette contains 4,400 toxic chemicals, and those include 400 carcinogenic substances.”

Smoking, according to the first draft of the executive by-law of the UAE Federal National Tobacco Law, will be completely banned in enclosed public places with no provision for smoking rooms.

Khaleej Times had earlier quoted Dr Wedad Al Maidoor, head of the National Tobacco Control Committee in the UAE as saying that the country has agreed to a total ban on smoking as per the recommendations of the World Health Organisation.

Professor Hartmut Lode at the Berlin-based Research Centre for Medical Studies stressed that smoking is an important factor in worsening chronic respiratory diseases.

“Clinical studies conducted in the past 10 years showed that patients were more likely to return to their pre-exacerbation health status following moxifloxacin treatment and were nearly 50 per cent less likely to require a further course of antibiotics compared with a standard treatment regimen.”

Professor Serhat Unal, Head of the Department of Medicine at Hacettepe University of Turkey, said the aspect of antibiotic resistance also has to be borne in mind.

“Since antibiotic resistance is increasing, it is crucial to have a variety of antimicrobial treatment options which are effective in these diseases,” he said, noting that the latest data from the Middle East confirm that resistance to Avalox is extremely low and stable.

Echoing the same, Professor Adel Khattab, Head of the Department of Chest Medicine at the Ain Shams University in Cairo, said as the prevalence of chronic respiratory diseases is very likely to rise in the Middle East due to a high proportion of smokers, and in particular due to the trend of increased smoking among teenagers, the use of antibiotics is also bound to increase.

“Moxifloxacin presents an effective treatment option, with a low risk for resistance. However, we hope that the efforts to reduce overall smoking by introducing smoking bans and raising cigarette taxes will be successful,” Professor Khattab said.

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