What is Antimicrobial Resistance?

What is Antimicrobial Resistance?
November 18 10:28 2020 by admin Print This Article

The World Health Organization has designated November 18 to 24 as World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW). The slogan for 2020 is “Antimicrobials: Handle with care”.

Antimicrobials enable humans, animals and plants to fight diseases. They include antibiotics, antiviral, antiprotozoal and antifungal agents.

The inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents in human and veterinary health has led to a worldwide increase in the resistance to antimicrobials, making illnesses much harder to treat.

WAAW aims to provide the public with information about the dangers of antimicrobial resistance.

Why Is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Increasing?

The overexposure to antimicrobials gives microorganisms the chance to develop immunity to them, resulting in development of drug-resistant strains.

An example of this is the incorrect prescription of antibiotics to fight cold and flu. Antibiotics are ineffective in treating viral infections like colds. When they are inappropriately or excessively used, bacteria, which are always present in the body develop an immunity to the effects of the medication.

When sickness develops, the effectiveness of the antimicrobials is greatly reduced or completely lost, making treatment extremely difficult. For example, lack of access to clean water and sanitary facilities in many parts of the world often results in the spread of infections and organisms causing these diseases are often multi drug resistant due to overuse of antibiotics.

The COVID 19 pandemic has been a major cause of increase in AMR. The fear of the disease has led to a huge spurt in people self-medicating at the slightest hint of illness. COVID 19 is caused by a virus and not a bacterium. Consuming antibiotics out of fear of a coronavirus infection is not only pointless, but also causes the body to build up a resistance to these drugs so that if and when they are actually required, the effectiveness is reduced or lost.

AMR Is Everyone’s Concern

Common diseases such as infected wounds, diarrhea, urinary tract infections and many more were effectively treated by administering common antibiotics. Today, there is a world-wide increase in the resistance to these medicines and effective treatment options are becoming fewer with time. For example, the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin which is a first –line antibiotic for urinary tract infections has seen its effectiveness drop sharply and today the rate of resistance to what was once a highly effective antibiotic, is in some cases, as high as 94%.

The continuing reduction in the number of effective antimicrobials is posing a great challenge on healthcare systems worldwide and the effect is being seen most alarmingly in developing countries.

Governments and pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop new antimicrobial agents to win back the lost ground because of growing resistance. However, the development of these antimicrobials takes years and when they do become available, unless the use is strictly controlled, the same cycle of overuse and increased resistance will repeat itself.

It calls for control both on part of the medical community in the judicious use of antimicrobials and on part of the general public in avoidance of needless self-medication.

The absence of such actions  will lead to further increase in AMR.

Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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  1. Franson
    October 07, 13:55 #1 Franson

    AMR is indeed everyone’s concern since we all are going to be affected. Thanks for explaining the topic in an understandable manner!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Sindhu
    October 28, 06:45 #2 Sindhu

    AMR is a serious problem especially with the pandemic.

    Reply to this comment

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