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World antibiotics awareness week: 10 facts on antimicrobial resistance

This is a call on stakeholders to combat drug resistance
The threat from drug resistance is increasing. There is a need for urgent action; everyone must play a part. The complex problem of drug resistance requires collective action. WHO has developed a draft global action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance which has been submitted to the sixty-eighth World Health Assembly, taking place in May 2015. Governments will be asked to approve the plan and, in doing so, declare their commitment to address this global health threat.
1. What is antimicrobial resistance?
Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
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2. Drug Drug resistance is a global problem
Over the past years, the use and misuse of antimicrobials has increased the number and types of resistant organisms. Consequently many infectious diseases may one day become uncontrollable. With the growth of global trade and travel, resistant microorganisms can spread promptly to any part of the world.image

3. What causes drug resistance?
Drug resistance is a natural evolutionary phenomenon. When microorganisms are exposed to an antimicrobial, the more susceptible organisms succumb, leaving behind those resistant to the antimicrobial. They can then pass on their resistance to their offspring.
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4.Inappropriate use of medicines worsens drug resistance
Inappropriate use of antimicrobials drives the development of drug resistance. Both overuse, underuse and misuse of medicines contribute to the problem. Ensuring that patients are informed about the need to take the right dosage of the right antimicrobial requires action from prescribers, pharmacists and dispensers, pharmaceutical industry, the public and patients, as well as the policy makers.
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5.Lack of quality medicines contributes to drug resistance
Most drug quality assurance systems are weak. This can lead to poor quality medicines, exposing patients to sub-optimal concentrations of antimicrobials, thus creating the conditions for drug resistance to develop. In some countries poor access to antimicrobials forces patients to take incomplete courses of treatment or to seek alternatives that could include substandard medicines.
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6. Animal husbandry is a source of resistance to antibiotics
Sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics are used in animal-rearing for promoting growth or preventing diseases. This can result in resistant microorganisms, which can spread to humans.
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7. Poor infection prevention and control amplifies drug resistance
Poor infection prevention and control can increase the spread of drug-resistant infections. Hospitalized patients are one of the main reservoirs of resistant microorganisms. Patients who are carriers of resistant microorganisms can act as a source of infection for others.
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8.Weak surveillance systems contribute to the spread of drug resistance
While surveillance for the emergence of drug resistant TB and HIV infection is improving, currently there are few well-established networks that regularly collect and report relevant data on drug resistance. Some countries lack laboratory facilities that can accurately identify resistant microorganisms. This impairs the ability to detect emergence of resistance and take prompt actions.
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9. The pipeline for new tools to combat drug resistance is almost dry
Existing antibiotics and anti-parasitic drugs, and, to a lesser extent, antiviral drugs, are losing their effect. At the same time there is insufficient investment in developing new antimicrobials. Similarly, there is insufficient new research into new diagnostics to detect resistant microorganisms; and new vaccines for preventing and controlling infections. If this trend continues, the arsenal of tools to combat resistant microorganism will soon be depleted.
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>10. WHO calls on stakeholders to combat drug resistance
The threat from drug resistance is increasing. There is a need for urgent action; everyone must play a part. The complex problem of drug resistance requires collective action. WHO has developed a draft global action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance which has been submitted to the sixty-eighth World Health Assembly, taking place in May 2015. Governments will be asked to approve the plan and, in doing so, declare their commitment to address this global health threat.
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CULLED FROM WHO
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