Action against antibiotic resistance urged
Annecy, France, August 14, 2011
Participants at a recent forum on healthcare-associated infections in France have called upon health authorities to take action against the emergence and spread of bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics.
Over 70 international healthcare experts from 33 countries gathered at the Fondation Mérieux’s Conference Center for the third edition of the World HAI Forum on healthcare-associated infections.
While research to discover novel antibiotics has slowed to a virtual standstill, bacterial resistance has increased due to the massive use and misuse of antibiotics, not only for human health, but also for animals.
The treatment of certain common infections is becoming difficult and the success of immunosuppressive therapies and surgical interventions which are associated with a high risk of bacterial infection could be compromised, the participants said.
The emergence of pan-resistant NDM-1 bacteria and epidemic of multidrug-resistant E. coli infections currently in Europe should be taken as a major public health warning, indicating that a new era of antimicrobial resistance has begun, experts pointed out.
The forum’s participants identified priority action areas to fight bacterial resistance and recommended 12 concrete actions to be implemented, in the short to mid-term, to effectively address the problem:
• For animals, stop the administration of antibiotics used in human medicine and limit antibiotics to therapeutic use only. It is imperative to reserve the most important classes of antibiotics for humans.
• Banish, in all countries, the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed.
• Regulate the sale of antibiotics for use in human medicine and prohibit over-the-counter sales worldwide.
• Have international organizations (WHO, European Union) develop a charter on good antibiotic stewardship and have all the ministries of health worldwide sign it and commit to respecting it.
• Establish standardized, universal surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance and monitor the emergence and spread of new forms of bacterial resistance.
• Include, in the medical and veterinary school curricula, a solid training in bacterial resistance and the prudent use of antibiotics and establish on-the-job training programs for healthcare workers, taking into account the cultural specificities of each country.
• Develop culturally sensitive awareness campaigns, targeted to the general public, explaining the importance of protecting antibiotics and using them only when absolutely necessary.
• Provide education about fundamental hygiene, such as hand washing to prevent the spread of infection. It is imperative to improve sanitation systems to eliminate resistant bacteria in wastewater.
• Include consumers in the development and implementation of action plans.
• Develop Point-of-Care and rapid diagnostic tests, which can be used at the patient’s bedside or the doctor’s office, to guide the prescription of antibiotics and avoid their prescription for viral infections.
• Stimulate research and development of novel antibiotics.
• Find new economic models, which reconcile public health interests with Industry needs for profitability.
- TradeArabia News Service