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“We haven’t seen these cases in previous wars”: Antibiotic-resistant Bacterial Infections Found in Israeli Soldiers



According to Galia Rahav, head of the Israel Society for Infectious, highly resistant infections are being found in the wounds of injured IDF soldiers. The diseases include, “... Klebsiella pneumonia, multi-drug-resistant Acinetobacter, and fungal infections like Aspergillus”.


Rahav adds, “Even in the Gulf War, American soldiers returned with severe infections… We haven’t seen these cases in previous wars”.


The Lancet reported that resistant infections have increased by 300% since injured soldiers came home from the Great March of Return. However, these isolated are thought to be caused by contact with the soil and mud in Gaza, which harbours antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and fungi. The Society for Infectious Diseases is well versed in these cases, as they are seen amongst Gazan children who have been transferred to Israeli hospitals.


Edited by Sydney Smith


Before October 7th, the Gaza health ministry was contending with many issues in combating the AMR. Their challenges included poor wastewater management systems (which led to bacterial contamination in 34% of hospitals), severe overcrowding of patients, and critical shortages of staff and medical equipment. : Even worse, a blockade of the Gaza border has further reduced the trickle of medical aid into the region. These conditions, along with frequent misuse of antibiotics over-the-counter prescriptions, have combined to create a desperate situation for civilians. 


As 96% of water is not fit for human consumption, basic water and sanitation systems are a key step in tackling AMR. As reported by the UN, the current lack of clean water has been worsened by the Israeli government, which recently shut off Gaza’s water supply pipes. the pipes that supply Gaza with water reported by the UN. In addition, many believe that $100 million in EU taxpayer funds given to Gaza was stolen by Hamas to make rockets.


As a result, there have been great challenges in implementing the “people-centered” approach to combating AMR as suggested by the WHO. The guidelines instruct policymakers to focus on four pillars of public health: prevention of infections, access to essential health services, timely and accurate diagnosis, and appropriate quality-assured treatment. 


“This is a global health security issue because multi-drug resistant organisms don’t know any boundaries,” said Dina Nasser, lead infection control nurse at Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem who has also worked in Gaza.


This impending healthcare crisis may have large global complications, as resistant bacteria will “...always get out”, according to Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah at the American University of Beirut Medical Centre. Risks for a worldwide spread include this includes “...doctors, aid workers, and people travelling in and out of Gaza ''. Resistant bacteria is also found in the “...untreated sewage from Gaza containing multi-drug resistant bacteria, going into the aquifer” which supplies Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon.


Hamza Yousaf, First Minister of Scotland, has made it clear that “Scotland is willing to be a place of sanctuary and be the first country to take those refugees.” The conference of resistant bacteria to other populations may demand further safeguards that need to be in place to prevent this occurrence. 


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Tags: #Science #IsraelPalestine #Antimicrobialresistance #IDF


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