Overuse of Antibiotics is Creating Resistance — WHO Report

Alicia Farmer
January 30, 2018

Microbe resistance to antibiotics can help bacteria and virus proliferate, increase the chance of human infection and potentially kill those infected.

Among patients with suspected bloodstream infection, the proportion that had bacteria resistant to at least one of the most commonly used antibiotics ranged widely - from zero to 82 per cent between different countries.

The World Health Organisation's (WHO's) new Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (Glass), released yesterday, shows there is widespread antibiotic resistance in the 22 countries that participated.

Resistance to penicillin, which has been used for decades to treat pneumonia, ranged from zero to 51 per cent among reporting countries.

The World Health Organizatio, WHO launched a new Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (GLASS), a global effort to address drug resistance.

To combat this public health tendency the agency has created the Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System to create reliable and meaningful data at the worldwide level.

The most commonly reported drug resistant bacteria were those that cause diarrhoea and urinary tract infections. Of the 42 countries now enrolled in GLASS, 40 provided information on their surveillance systems, and 22 provided AMR data. Between 8 to 65 percent of those studied were resistant to ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic used to treat E. coli. In South Korea, almost of 75% of Acinetobacter isolates found in blood were resistant to the carbapenem antibiotics imipenem and meropenem.

WHO: Prevent Antibiotics Resistance. These drugs that constitute the only remaining treatment for gonorrhea.

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The WHO suspects that resistance comes from overuse and overdiagnosis.

The WHO notes, however, that the data-submitted from April 2017 through July 2017-vary widely in quality and completeness because of differences in surveillance capabilities. Because of this variability, the report does not attempt to compare results between countries and regions.

Although the system does not include data on the resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis, World Health Organization has been tracking and providing annual updates on it since 1994, in the Global tuberculosis report.

To date, 52 countries (25 high-income, 20 middle-income and 7 low-income countries) are enrolled in WHO's Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System.

"About two thirds of tertiary hospital patients with Klebsiella pneumoniae bloodstream infections are resistant to first-line antibiotics, and about a third of hospital patients with bloodstream Escherichia coli have drug-resistant strains", said University of Cape Town infectious disease specialist Marc Mendelson, citing data collated by the National Institutes of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

"WHO is encouraging all countries to set up good surveillance systems for detecting drug resistance that can provide data to this global system", Dr. Sprenger asserted.

But some countries face larger hurdles than others in establishing their AMR surveillance systems. The agency says nearly all countries enrolled in GLASS have what it considers to be the three essential core components for national AMR surveillance: a national coordination center, a national reference laboratory, and sentinel surveillance sites where diagnostic results and epidemiologic data are collected.

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