WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

WHO: Antimicrobial resistance occurring in every region of the world

The first WHO report to look at global antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, found that what was once a serious threat is now occurring in every region of the world and could affect anyone of any age in any country.

"Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill," Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO's assistant director-general for health security, said. "Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating."

The report found that resistance is happening across many different infectious agents but focuses on antibiotic resistance in seven different bacteria responsible for common, serious diseases, including bloodstream infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhea.

Key tools to fight antibiotic resistance show gaps or do not exist in many countries, according to the report, though some countries have taken important steps to address the problem but more is needed.

Other methods that are important to prevent the spread of infections include better hygiene, access to clean water, infection control in healthcare facilities and vaccinations to reduce the need for antibiotics.