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Antimicrobial resistance is a natural process that occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites evolve so that existing medications used to treat related infections no longer work. As a result the germs are not killed and continue to grow.
What Is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?
Some types of bacteria and fungi have become resistant to a lot of different antimicrobial treatments.
These so-called “superbugs” can continue to grow even when multiple medicines are used to try and treat them.
WHY HAS THIS HAPPENED?
Many of the antimicrobial treatments we use today were developed decades ago. As a result, patients require repeated courses of different antibiotics to fight infections that used to be easily cured with one treatment course of a medicine. Additionally, often times patients do not take all of the pills prescribed to them or follow appropriate usage of the medicine. Unfortunately, this can all make the resistance worse. In some cases, antibiotics don’t work at all.
As antimicrobial resistance becomes more common, more of us could be prone to infections that aren’t treatable by any antibiotics. In many cases, the infections may even be deadly.
THIS IS NOT A FUTURE PROBLEM. IT IS HAPPENING NOW.
AMR is a threat to all of us, especially those with chronic conditions. Without effective antibiotics and antifungals, we don’t just lose treatments for serious infections, but we also face significantly increased risks from many common medical services that rely upon the effective prevention and treatment of infections. Those services include complex care like organ transplants, invasive surgeries, or cancer treatment, but can also affect procedures like c-sections, joint replacements, and dialysis.
We need to encourage more development of new treatments to combat antimicrobial resistant infections.
What Are the Real-Life Consequences of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?
After decades of helping to lower the mortality rate from pneumonia, tuberculosis and other types of infection, the medicines we rely on now face the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Antimicrobial resistant superbugs are emerging, mutating, and spreading globally in ways that threaten the ability to treat common infectious diseases, and can result in prolonged illness, disability, and death. The cost of health care for patients with resistant infections is higher than care for patients with non-resistant infections due to longer duration of illness, additional tests and more intensive care demands. AMR does not discriminate; it quite literally compromises the future of modern medicine.
We are living amidst a current example of this with COVID-19 and superimposed bacterial pneumonia.