Monday, August 22, 2016

Antibiotic Resistance at A Glance

Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC


Antibiotics, also known as antimicrobial drugs, are drugs that fight infections caused by bacteria in both humans and animals. Antibiotics fight these infections either by killing the bacteria or making it difficult for the bacteria to grow and multiply. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses.


Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, WHO
Source: WHO


The term "antibiotic" originally referred to a natural compound that kills bacteria, such as certain types of mold or chemicals produced by living organisms. Technically, the term "antimicrobial" refers to both natural and synthetic (man-made) compounds; however, many people use the word "antibiotic" to refer to both.


Antibiotic, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC


Viral infections should not be treated with antibiotics. Common infections caused by viruses include:
  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Most sore throats
  • Most coughs and bronchitis (“chest colds”)
  • Many sinus infections
  • Many ear infections

Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of an antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm. 

Although some people are at greater risk than others, no one can completely avoid the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections. Infections with resistant organisms are difficult to treat, requiring costly and sometimes toxic alternatives.

Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world's most pressing public health problems. Antibiotic resistance can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become dangerous infections, prolonging suffering for children and adults. 

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can spread to family members, schoolmates, and co-workers, and may threaten your community. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often more difficult to kill and more expensive to treat. In some cases, the antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death.

Although some people think a person becomes resistant to specific drugs, it is the bacteria, not the person, that become resistant to the drugs.




Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC


Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria (bacteria that antibiotics can still attack) are killed, but resistant bacteria are left to grow and multiply. This is how repeated use of antibiotics can increase the number of drug-resistant bacteria.


Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, WHO
Source: WHO


Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections. Widespread use of antibiotics for these illnesses is an example of how overuse of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic resistance. Smart use of antibiotics is key to controlling the spread of resistance.



How Resistance Happens and Spreads


The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world.  Simply using antibiotics creates resistance.  These drugs should only be used to manage infections.


Trends in Drug Resistance


  • Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in human medicine and can be lifesaving drugs.  However, up to 50% of the time antibiotics are not optimally prescribed, often done so when not needed, incorrect dosing or duration.
  • The germs that contaminate food can become resistant because of the use of antibiotics in people and in food animals.  For some germs, like the bacteria Salmonella and Campylobacter, it is primarily the use of antibiotics in food animals that increases resistance.  Because of the link the between antibiotic use in food-producing animals and the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, antibiotics that are medically important to treating infections in humans should be used in food-producing animals only under veterinary oversight and only to manage and treat infectious disease, not to promote growth.
  • The other major factor in the growth of antibiotic resistance is spread of the resistant strains of bacteria from person to person, or from the non-human sources in the environment.

Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC


Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC

Actions to Fight Resistance


Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC

Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC

Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC

Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC


 Source: CDC


Prevention and control


Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as well as poor infection prevention and control. Steps can be taken at all levels of society to reduce the impact and limit the spread of resistance.

The general public can help by:


  • Preventing infections by regularly washing hands, practicing good food hygiene, avoiding close contact with sick people and keeping vaccinations up to date
  • Only using antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional
  • Always taking the full prescription
  • Never using left-over antibiotics
  • Never sharing antibiotics with others.


Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, WHO
Source: WHO
 

Health workers and pharmacists can help by:


  • Preventing infections by ensuring hands, instruments and environment are clean
  • Keeping patients’ vaccinations up to date
  • When a bacterial infection is suspected, perform bacterial cultures and testing to confirm
  • Only prescribing and dispensing antibiotics when they are truly needed
  • Prescribing and dispensing the right antibiotic at the right dose for the right duration.



Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, WHO
Source: WHO

Policymakers can help by:


  • Having a robust national action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance
  • Improving surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections
  • Strengthening infection prevention and control measures
  • Regulating and promoting the appropriate use of quality medicines
  • Making information on the impact of antibiotic resistance available
  • Rewarding the development of new treatment options, vaccines and diagnostics.



Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, WHO
Source: WHO

The agricultural sector can help by:


  • Ensure that antibiotics given to animals - including food-producing and companion animals - are only used to treat infectious diseases and under veterinary supervision.
  • Vaccinate animals to reduce the need for antibiotics and develop alternatives to the use of antibiotics in plants.
  • Promote and apply good practices at all steps of production and processing of foods from animal and plant sources.
  • Adopt sustainable systems with improved hygiene, biosecurity and stress-free handling of animals.
  • Implement international standards for the responsible use of antibiotics, set out by OIE, FAO and WHO.


Antibiotic Resistance, Infographic, WHO
Source: WHO

The healthcare industry can help by:


  • Investing in new antibiotics, vaccines, and diagnostics.



Sources:

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