Antibiotic Resistance On The Increase


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced the widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500, 000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.

The announcement which is contained in the new Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (GLASS) data revealed high levels of resistance to a number of serious bacterial infections in both high and low income countries.

According to the report, the most commonly reported resistant bacteria are Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, followed by Salmonella spp.

“Among patients with suspected bloodstream infection, the proportion that had bacteria resistant to at least one of the most commonly used antibiotics ranged tremendously between different countries – from zero to 82 percent,” the report highlighted.

Dr Marc Sprenger, Director of WHO’s Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat, mentioned that the report confirms the serious situation of antibiotic resistance worldwide.

“Some of the world’s most common – and potentially most dangerous – infections are proving drug-resistant. And most worrying of all, pathogens don’t respect national borders. That’s why WHO is encouraging all countries to set up good surveillance systems for detecting drug resistance that can provide data to this global system,” Mr Sprenger added.

Dr Carmem Pessoa-Silva, coordinator of the new surveillance system at WHO, pointed out that the report is a vital first step towards improving the understanding of the extent of antimicrobial resistance.

“Surveillance is in its infancy, but it is vital to develop it if we are to anticipate and tackle one of the biggest threats to global public health,” she said.

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

However, WHO is supporting more countries to set up national antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems that can produce reliable, meaningful data. GLASS is helping to standardise the way that countries collect data and enable a more complete picture about antimicrobial resistance patterns and trends.

The system does not include data on resistance of mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis (TB), as WHO has been tracking it since 1994 and providing annual updates in the Global tuberculosis report,” the report said.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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