/Doctors want to generalize rapid detection tests to fight against antibiotic abuse

Doctors want to generalize rapid detection tests to fight against antibiotic abuse

It is a major public health problem. Antibiotics are too widely prescribed. Result: the bacteria become more resistant, which causes 12,500 deaths per year in France. In a document published Wednesday, several doctors recommend a generalization of rapid detection tests to help the proper use of antibiotics.

In a city office, laboratory or hospital, there are several tests that allow you to have a quick answer on the cause of an infection. The best known being the Strepto Test. When a patient comes to see his GP for a sore throat, it is enough to scratch his tonsils with a swab, a kind of large cotton swab, to know in a few minutes whether the disease is of bacterial or viral origin. A result that will determine if antibiotics are needed.

Antibiotics prescribed according to the origin of angina

According to Dr Thierry Naas, bacteriologist at Bicêtre hospital in Val-de-Marne, “tonsillitis are pathologies found in cities and 90% are of viral origin. There is no treatment, you just have to wait for it to pass. We can eventually treat the symptoms, but there is no antibiotic treatment necessary … Only 10% of tonsillitis are of bacterial origin. And so using rapid diagnostic tests to identify the presence of the bacteria will significantly limit the use of antibiotics. ”

The Strepto Test for tonsillitis is reimbursed by Social Security. But many GPs haven’t gotten into the habit of using them yet.

In the laboratory, other more precise tests can be used. They make it possible to know if a bacterium is resistant to a particular antibiotic. Most often, practitioners use an antibiogram. It is therefore necessary to cultivate the bacterium for several days to know its resistance.

Detect resistant bacteria in just 15 minutes

New tests are much faster. Within 15 minutes, some can tell if the patient’s bacteria have already developed a mechanism of resistance to one of the latest antibiotics.

According to Dr Thierry Naas, this test has multiple advantages: “For the patient, it is a better therapeutic management. We know immediately what the resistance mechanism is and therefore we can adapt the treatment. But it is also an advantage for the community at large because for patients carrying highly resistant bacteria, the spread of these germs must be limited. ”

Problem: these new tests are not yet reimbursed by Social Security. They are therefore mainly used in university hospitals.