Friday, 6 June 2014

An Intergovernmental Panel on Antimicrobial Resistance Called For

A recent report in the journal Nature calls for globally coordinated action to control the use of antimicrobial drugs in order to prevent the rise of resistance. The World Health Organisation published a detailed document on the increase of antibiotic resistance around the world in April 2014:

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. An increasing number of governments around the world are devoting efforts to a problem so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine. A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st Century. This WHO report, produced in collaboration with Member States and other partners, provides for the first time, as accurate a picture as is presently possible of the magnitude of AMR and the current state of surveillance globally.
The report makes a clear case that resistance to common bacteria has reached alarming levels in many parts of the world and that in some settings, few, if any, of the available treatments options remain effective for common infections. Another important finding of the report is that surveillance of antibacterial resistance is neither coordinated nor harmonized and there are many gaps in information on bacteria of major public health importance.
Strengthening global AMR surveillance is critical as it is the basis for informing global strategies, monitoring the effectiveness of public health interventions and detecting new trends and threats. As WHO, along with partners across many sectors moves ahead in developing a global action plan to mitigate AMR, this report will serve as a baseline to measure future progress.

Antifungal drug resistance

It is important to point out that just as combating antibiotic resistance by regulating use across the world is going to be a vitally important factor in preserving their effectiveness for as long as possible, there is also an emerging threat of resistance to antifungal medication, some of it thought to be caused by widespread use of antifungal chemicals (that closely resemble those used to treat human infections) to control. Control of the use of agricultural antifungal chemicals is difficult as to do so threatens the food supply of many countries. Here too global coordination is needed, and the WHO report mentions this too.

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