Local Approaches To Combating Antibiotic Resistance Are Doomed To Failure

September 04, 1998

(Antimicrobial resistance : a major threat to public health)

The Chief Medical Officers of the European Union are meeting in Copenhagen next week to assess the strategies needed to prevent and control the emergence and spread of anti-microbial resistant micro-organisms. This week's BMJ has a collection of papers on antibiotic resistance which explain how resistance develops, discuss ways of reducing inappropriate prescribing and assess the changes in practice and the surveillance systems needed to contain this major and global threat to public health.

Richard Wise, professor of medical microbiology at Birmingham, and colleagues say that the past decade has seen the progressive intercontinental spread of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus and penicillin resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae with concerns about increasing resistance of Salmonella typhi. Bacteria respect no borders and concerted international action is needed.

The authors say that veterinary practice must change, that patients must be educated not to expect antibiotics for every infection, that clinical guidelines will be needed to control antibiotic prescribing and that more fundamental research will be required to understand the levers that control antibiotic resistance.

Contact :

Professor Richard Wise, Professor in Clinical Microbiology, Department of Microbiology, City Hospital Trust, Birmingham
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BMJ

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