The Centers for Disease Control published a bombshell report in 2013, strongly warning against the negative ramifications of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). And in 2014, the World Health Organization labeled antibiotic resistance as a “major threat to public health.” Antibiotic resistance is a direct result of antibiotic use. The more antibiotics are used, the greater the odds that antibiotic-resistant populations of bacteria will increase. It is imperative the fight across multiple disciplines continues because since these reports, it doesn’t appear the situation is improving significantly. Consider some of the following reports.
Antibiotic resistance – A global health crisis is a wonderful piece that discusses what is being done to combat AMR and includes a personal experience that hammers home the point that we are at a critical point in the fight.
Below are three YouTube pieces that discuss various aspects of AMR and are well worth the time to watch:
- CDC now admits era of antibiotics at an end as bacteria out-wit drug companies is one that should really make folks stand up and take notice. If you don’t think you should be concerned because there always will be new drugs to combat AMR, you’re probably wrong. “In a breakthrough moment of truth for the CDC, the agency now openly admits that prescription antibiotics have led to a catastrophic rise in superbugs, causing the death of at least 23,000 Americans each year (an estimate even the CDC calls “conservative”).” Staggering numbers, indeed.
- Maryn McKenna: What do we do when antibiotics don’t work anymore? “Penicillin changed everything. Infections that had previously killed were suddenly quickly curable. Yet as Maryn McKenna shares in this sobering talk, we’ve squandered the advantages afforded us by that and later antibiotics. Drug-resistant bacteria mean we’re entering a post-antibiotic world — and it won’t be pretty. There are, however, things we can do … if we start right now.”
The post antibiotic world was center stage recently as the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted “World Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov. 16-22). You can find the core subject document at our website. It is titled Antimicrobial Resistance: Global report on surveillance. It suggests that 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. It goes on to say that the WHO, along with partners across many sectors, is developing a global action plan to mitigate AMR. Strengthening global AMR surveillance will be a critical aspect of such planning as it is the basis for informing global strategies, monitoring the effectiveness of public health interventions and detecting new trends and threats.
To that point, Alarming new “superbug” gene found in animals and people in China by Reuters says the discovery a new gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to a last-resort class of antibiotics is “alarming” to scientists, who called for urgent restrictions on the use of polymyxins – a class of antibiotics that includes the drug colistin and is widely used in livestock farming. Emergence of plasmid-mediated colistin resistance mechanism MCR-1 in animals and human beings in China: a microbiological and molecular biological study reports in detail about this emergence of the first plasmid-mediated polymyxin resistance mechanism, MCR-1, in Enterobacteriaceae.
Also, check out this related piece at PubMed Central®:
- New metallo β-lactamase NDM-1: Bacteria have countered the introduction of successive classes of antibiotics by developing a variety of resistance mechanisms. At the top of the pyramid are the carbapenemases. The metallo β-lactamases (MBL) are the more versatile enzymes that can convert the host bacteria into almost total β-lactam insusceptibily4. Infections by such organisms are practically untreatable by β-lactam antibiotics, which are the most favoured agents used in Gram negative sepsis.
Far too often swept under the proverbial rug, the growing number of illnesses and deaths resulting from resistance to antibiotics is a very real and pressing issue. It doesn’t get the attention of sexier causes, though it should. It truly is one of the more important challenges that governments throughout the world face. Preventable illness and death related to infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria is made more troublesome because our ability to combat them is compromised by their ability to not only survive but thrive in the face of increasingly less effective antibiotics assaults.
Dr. Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, Director U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sums up quite nicely the peril of inaction when he says: Every day we don’t act to better protect antibiotics will make it harder and more expensive to address drug resistance in the future. Drug resistance can undermine both our ability to fight infectious diseases and much of modern medicine. Patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, dialysis for renal failure, and increasingly common treatments for diseases such as arthritis depend on antibiotics so common infectious complications can be treated effectively.
The White House unveiled the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in September 2014. The stated vision: The United States will work domestically and internationally to prevent, detect, and control illness and death related to infections caused by antibiotic- resistant bacteria by implementing measures to mitigate the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance and ensuring the continued availability of therapeutics for the treatment of bacterial infections. The United States joins the World Health Organization (see previous blog), Australia and the European Union in developing strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance.
Specifically, five interrelated goals were outlined:
- Slow the Emergence of Resistant Bacteria and Prevent the Spread of Resistant Infections.
- Strengthen National One-Health Surveillance Efforts to Combat Resistance.
- Advance Development and Use of Rapid and Innovative Diagnostic Tests for Identification and Characterization of Resistant Bacteria.
- Accelerate Basic and Applied Research and Development for New Antibiotics, Other Therapeutics, and Vaccines.
- Improve International Collaboration and Capacities for Antibiotic Resistance Prevention, Surveillance, Control, and Antibiotic Research and Development.
To read the report in detail, visit the link provided above in this story.