Epidemiology Week 29

10 Facts on Antimicrobial Resistance (Part 2)


Animal husbandry is a source of resistance to antibiotics

Sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics are used in animal-rearing for promoting growth or preventing diseases. This can result in resistant microorganisms, which can spread to humans.


Poor infection prevention and control amplifies drug resistance

Poor infection prevention and control can increase the spread of drug-resistant infections. Hospitalized patients are one of the main reservoirs of resistant microorganisms. Patients who are carriers of resistant microorganisms can act as a source of infection for others.


Weak surveillance systems contribute to the spread of drug resistance

While surveillance for the emergence of drug resistant TB and HIV infection is improving, currently there are few well-established networks that regularly collect and report relevant data on drug resistance. Some countries lack laboratory facilities that can accurately identify resistant microorganisms. This impairs the ability to detect emergence of resistance and take prompt actions.


The pipeline for new tools to combat drug resistance is almost dry

Existing antibiotics and anti-parasitic drugs, and, to a lesser extent, antiviral drugs, are losing their effect. At the same time there is insufficient investment in developing new antimicrobials. Similarly, there is insufficient new research into new diagnostics to detect resistant microorganisms; and new vaccines for preventing and controlling infections. If this trend continues, the arsenal of tools to combat resistant microorganism will soon be depleted.


WHO calls on stakeholders to combat drug resistance

The threat from drug resistance is increasing. There is a need for urgent action; everyone must play a part. The complex problem of drug resistance requires collective action. WHO has developed a draft global action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance which has been submitted to the sixty-eighth World Health Assembly, taking place in May 2015. Governments will be asked to approve the plan and, in doing so, declare their commitment to address this global health threat.


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