Saturday, 2 February 2013

Controlling antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobials are drugs used to treat an infectious organism, and include antibiotics (used to treat bacteria), antivirals (for viruses), antifungals (for fungal infections) and antiparasitics (for parasites).

Antibiotic resistance is a form of drug resistance whereby some (or, less commonly, all) sub-populations of a microorganism, usually a bacterial species, are able to survive after exposure to one or more antibiotics; pathogens resistant to multiple antibiotics are considered multidrug resistant(MDR) or, more colloquially, superbugs.

Nowadays fewer new antibiotics are being developed, meaning we have fewer options and stronger and stronger drugs in our antibiotics armory have to be used to treat common infections once they become resistant. This means we are now facing a possible future situation where we will be without effective antibiotics.

Antimicrobial resistance is a responsibility of each and every one of us, be it a patient, healthcare professional or policy maker. This is the theme of an interesting article in the journal European Hospital.

The article states:

“In the past four years, in more than a third of EU/EEA countries, there has been a significant increase in the trend towards combined resistance to both Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. Coli; on a more positive note methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has shown a decrease or stabilization in most European countries.”
  1. The seven most important measures for dealing with antimicrobial resistance are: 
  2. making sure antimicrobials are used appropriately in both humans and animals 
  3. preventing microbial infections and their spread 
  4. developing new effective antimicrobials or alternatives for treatment 
  5. cooperating with international partners to contain the risks of AMR 
  6. improving monitoring and surveillance in human and animal medicine 
  7. promoting research and innovation 
  8. improving communication, education and training.
To view the article, go to EH.

Posted by Tim Sandle