Global Problem of Antimicrobial Resistance Intensifies

Henrietta Strickland
January 31, 2018

World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the overuse of antibiotics is making humans more resistant to their effects making it hard to overcome common infections like E. coli and pneumonia. Resistance to penicillin - the medicine used for decades worldwide to treat pneumonia - ranged from zero to 51% among reporting countries. Most worrying of all, pathogens don't respect national borders.

There is high level of resistance to antibiotics by a number of serious bacterial infections.

"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). Resistance associated with urinary tract infections recorded low response to ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic commonly used to treat this condition, from 8 per cent to 65 per cent variation worldwide.

GLASS has revealed widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500,000 people, with bacterial infections across 22 countries.

Furthermore, the tally does not include tuberculosis infection resistance cases, the World Health Organization said in its first report on the phenomenon.

World Health Organization is encouraging countries to set up proper surveillance systems for detecting drug resistance that can provide accurate data to its system.

He said the quality and completeness of data in this first GLASS report vary widely. This, it says, will provide needed information to tackle what it calls one of the biggest threats to global public health. However, as GLASS and country participation evolves, the data reported will help understand surveillance capacities and mechanisms of reporting across countries in all regions, and will inform further GLASS development.

"GLASS is expected to perform a similar function for common bacterial pathogens", he said.

The GLASS investigation, which began in 2015, studied a half million people in 22 countries regarding their levels of antibiotic resistance.

Kenya has developed and approved the National Policy and Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance and is building its national surveillance system. In general, national participation in GLASS is seen as a sign of growing political commitment to support global efforts to control antimicrobial resistance.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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