A record number of countries have reported resistance to antibiotics entailing a worrying number of bacterial infections are now resistant to the medicines available at hand to treat them, the World Health Organization says in a media release.
The WHO devised system to monitor the strain of antibiotic resistance across the world called Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS) is giving the new yet worrying result. The system was launched in 2018 and today it aggregates data from 2 million patients, enrolled in 66 countries across 64,000 surveillance systems throughout the world.
“As we gather more evidence, we see more clearly and more worryingly how fast we are losing critically important antimicrobial medicines all over the world,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). He added that these data underscore the need to develop new antimicrobials at the same time protect the ones we have on hand. “
Data reveals bacteria that cause the most common health issues like urinary tract infections (UTIs) and some forms of diarrhea are increasingly getting resistant to the antibiotic commonly used to treat them. This indicates the world is running out of the most disposable ways currently used to tackle the diseases.
“For instance, the rate of resistance to ciprofloxacin, an antimicrobial frequently used to treat urinary tract infections, varied from 8.4% to 92.9% in 33 reporting countries,” WHO says in the statement.
The Coronavirus Effect
Experts fear the ongoing pandemic will fule the unnecessary application of antibiotics on COVID-19 patients. Evidence suggests only a small portion of novel coronavirus patients need antibiotics to treat subsequent bacteria-induced illnesses. The World Health Organization has issued guidance for the use of antibiotics on COVID-19 patients.
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Assistant Director-General for AMR at WHO, Dr. Hanan Balkhy says: “We believe this clear guidance on the use of antibiotics in the COVID-19 pandemic will both help countries tackle COVID-19 effectively and prevent the emergence and transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the context of the pandemic.”
The World Health Organization has also raised concerns on the declining innovation and investment in medical research by private sectors n the development of new antimicrobial treatments. WHO director-general Dr. Ghebreyesus told the battle with antimicrobial resistance is a critical one, during a virtual briefing from Geneva.
What is antibiotic resistance? Antibiotics are medications used to treat infections caused by bacteria like UTI among others. Antibiotic resistance means the bacteria have changes in response to the applied antibiotic. Humans and animals don’t become resistant to antibiotics, but the bacteria, according to WHO.
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