The report examines data from 114 countries and concludes that widespread antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is now a current, rather than a future, problem and can affect people in any part of the world. It calls for urgent action to head off the possibility of a “post-antibiotic era,” in which common infections become untreatable once more.
Key findings include global resistance to “last resort” carbapenem antibiotics in the common intestinal bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae – a common cause of hospital-acquired infections – and widespread resistance to clinically important fluoroquinolone antimicrobials in E. coli. Fluoroquinolone resistance has also been identified as a potential problem in certain foodborne pathogens, notably Campylobacter and Salmonella, isolated from poultry and other food animals.
The report focuses mainly on the use of antibiotics in a clinical environment and provides guidance on tackling resistance for health workers. However, it also includes a section on antibiotic resistance in food animals and highlights serious gaps in surveillance and data sharing and the need for a “multisectorial approach” to contain antibiotic resistance in the food supply chain.
The full report, Antimicrobial Resistance: Global report on surveillance, can be downloaded from the WHO website here.