The State of the World’s Antibiotics: Resistance Rates Rising, Stewardship is the SolutionPosted on by
Antibiotic resistance is a problem that must be faced squarely in every country in 2015. The good news is that every country can take action and these national actions will benefit the local population. That’s the conclusion my colleagues and I at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) were proud to release in September in a major report: The State of the World’s Antibiotics, 2015.
The report looks comprehensively at global antibiotic use and resistance in humans, livestock and the environment, the global antibiotic supply, and actions that can be taken at country level to minimize antibiotic resistance.
We found some clear trends:
- The prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is increasing all over the world, including the United States.
- The global use of antibiotics by humans increased by more than 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, from 50 billion to 70 billion standard units, and we expect the trend to continue.
- About 80 percent of this use takes place in the community, meaning that, though hospitals contribute greatly to consumption (because patients with the most difficult-to-treat infections are in hospitals), unchecked use in outpatient and non-prescription settings is a major issue.
- Non-therapeutic antibiotic use in animals—dosing chickens, pigs or cows with antibiotics to promote growth and prevent infections rather than to cure illness—is growing worldwide. We project that global animal antibiotic consumption will grow 67 percent between 2010 and 2030.
Stopping the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, while maintaining access for those who truly need them, is of utmost importance.
The root of the problem is often attributed to the “empty pipeline” argument—that if we just had more new antibiotics, resistance wouldn’t be a problem. But no matter how many new drugs come out, if we continue to misuse them, they might as well have never been discovered.
Instead, strong antibiotic stewardship in its broadest sense is the key to conserving antibiotic effectiveness. CDDEP recently estimated that investing $50 million in an antibiotic stewardship program can “buy” one full year for the billion-dollar research and development programs that are trying to bring new antibiotics to the market.
Stewardship programs can be done at the national level everywhere in the world; though antibiotic resistance is a global problem, the solutions lie at national and regional levels.
So what can you do?
- Participate in Get Smart for Antibiotics Week (Nov. 16-22). Read and share educational materials for parents, healthcare professionals, administrators, and policy makers about the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. Learn more.
- Spread the word. Participate in a global Twitter chat on Wednesday, Nov. 18 using #AntibioticResistance to increase awareness about the importance of preserving the power of antibiotics.
- If you’re a patient, talk to your healthcare professional. Tell your provider you’re concerned about antibiotic resistance and ask what steps they are taking to use antibiotics appropriately. Learn more.
- If you’re a healthcare professional, talk to your patients. Educate your patients by telling them antibiotics don’t work for viruses like colds, most sore throats, and the flu. Learn more.
If your organization is implementing antibiotic stewardship principles, consider submitting a summary of your key activities to CDC. Learn more.