21 Mar 2012 | Infection Prevention & Control
The World Health Organisation has released a book looking at the effects of antimicrobial resistance, the reasons why resistance has been increasing rapidly and strategies to deal with the impending crisis.
It has been well known for several decades that disease causing bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Infections are now becoming more difficult to treat, with common infections becoming life threatening in some cases. Healthcare providers are turning to stronger and more expensive antibiotics to treat infections, putting an ever greater burden on resources.
The misuse of antibiotics has accelerated anti-microbial resistance with inappropriate prescribing and incorrectly followed treatment identified as a contributory factor. The unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal husbandry is also highlighted as requiring regulation, with more antibiotics being given to healthy animals in the course of farming than in the treatment of humans.
Hospitals are identified as the place where antibiotic resistant infections are most likely to spread. Results from a European study showed over 25,000 people died from resistant bacterial hospital infections each year. Reducing the number of healthcare acquired infections through improved infection prevention and control practices is essential.
The problem is exacerbated by reduced research into new drugs by pharmaceutical companies who have seen their research and development costs spiral while profits from short-lived antibiotics fall.
The authors conclude that greater innovation, scientific collaboration and political motivation are essential in the fight against anti-microbial resistance.
The book is the result of international consultation process which started in 2008 and gathered input from over 50 international experts in the field of antimicrobial resistance.
The publication can be downloaded here The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance - Options for action