While releasing surveillance data from 40 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday declared antibiotic resistance a “serious situation” in both high- and low-income countries.
In a press release , WHO said the data, collected as part of its new Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System, “revealed widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500,000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.” Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Salmonella spp were the most commonly reported resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance has led to the increase in healthcare-associated infections in recent years.
According to WHO, 25 high-income, 20 middle-income and seven low-income countries are enrolled in its Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System. Forty of those countries shared data about their national surveillance systems for this report, the release said.
“The report confirms the serious situation of antibiotic resistance worldwide,” said Dr. Marc Sprenger, director of WHO’s Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat, in the release. “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.”
WHO is encouraging other countries to establish antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems that “produce reliable, meaningful data,” and pointed to “solid” drug resistance surveillance programs already helping to battle tuberculosis, HIV and malaria.
“The report is a vital first step towards improving our understanding of the extent of antimicrobial resistance,” stated Dr. Carmem Pessoa-Silva, who coordinates the new surveillance system at WHO. “Surveillance is in its infancy, but it is vital to develop it if we are to anticipate and tackle one of the biggest threats to global public health.”