Why is antimicrobial resistance a global concern?
Infections caused by resistant microorganisms often fail to respond to the standard treatment, resulting in prolonged illness and greater risk of death. The death rate for patients with serious infections treated in hospitals is about twice that in patients with infections caused by non-resistant bacteria.
AMR hampers the control of infectious diseases
AMR reduces the effectiveness of treatment, thus patients remain infectious for a longer time, increasing the risk of spreading resistant microorganisms to others.
AMR threatens a return to the pre-antibiotic era
Many infectious diseases risk becoming untreatable and uncontrollable, which could derail the progress made towards reaching the targets of the health-related United Nations Millennium Development Goals set for 2015.
AMR increases the costs of health care
When infections become resistant to first-line medicines, more expensive therapies must be used. The longer duration of illness and treatment, often in hospitals, increases health-care costs and the economic burden to families and societies.
AMR jeopardizes health-care gains to society
The achievements of modern medicine are put at risk by AMR. Without effective antimicrobials for care and prevention of infections, the success of treatments such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy and major surgery would be compromised.
AMR threatens health security, and damages trade and economies
The growth of global trade and travel allows resistant microorganisms to be spread rapidly to distant countries and continents through humans and food.
Facts on antimicrobial resistance
In 2011 there were an estimated 630 000 cases of MDR-TB among the world’s 12 million cases of TB. Globally, 3.7% of new cases and 20% of previously treated cases are estimated to have MDR-TB, with substantial differences in the frequency of MDR-TB between countries. Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB, defined as MDR-TB plus resistance to any fluoroquinolone and any second-line injectable drug) has been identified in 84 countries globally.
- Percentage of new tuberculosis cases with MDR-TB
jpg, 546kbA high percentage of hospital-acquired infections are caused by highly resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycinor multidrug-resistant enterococciGram-negative bacteria .
- Staphylococcus aureus (hospital isolates): percentage of methicillin-resistant strains, 2007, Latin America and the Caribbean