WHO reports high levels of antibiotic resistance worldwide

The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) is pictured in Geneva [Photo Credit: VOANEWS]

There is high level of resistance to antibiotics by a number of serious bacterial infections.

This is happening in both high- and low-income countries, the World Health Organization, WHO’s first release of surveillance data on antibiotic resistance reveals.

The report – Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (GLASS) published on WHO’s website, Monday, reveals widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500, 000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.

The most commonly reported resistant bacteria were Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae, followed by Salmonella spp.

Among patients with suspected bloodstream infection, the proportion that had bacteria resistance to at least one of the most commonly used antibiotics ranged tremendously between different countries – from zero to 82%.

Resistance to penicillin – the medicine used for decades worldwide to treat pneumonia – ranged from zero to 51% among reporting countries.

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“The report confirms the serious situation of antibiotic resistance worldwide”, Marc Sprenger, director of WHO’s Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat said.

“Some of the world’s most common – and potentially most dangerous – infections are proving drug-resistant and most worrying of all, pathogens don’t respect national borders.

“That’s why WHO is encouraging all countries to set up good surveillance systems for detecting drug resistance that can provide data to this global system”, he added.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply causing more harm.

Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by misuse of antibiotics, which is a major problem in Nigeria.

As at 2014, the O’Neill report estimated that about 10 million people will die from Antimicrobial resistance, AMR, annually by 2050 if current trends continue; 40% of these deaths will occur in Africa.

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