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Antibiotic Resistance

Since May 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance; Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS), which includes antibiotic resistance.

This action plan has five strategic objectives:

- Improve awareness and knowledge on antimicrobial resistance;

- Strengthen surveillance and investigation;

- Reduce the incidence of infections;

- Optimize the use of antimicrobial drugs;

- Ensure that sustainable investments are made in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

The WHO carries out annual activities to strengthen the rational use of antibiotics and every November the world week of awareness on the use of antibiotics is celebrated, with the slogan << Antibiotics: handle them with care >>.

The importance of raising awareness about the rational use of antibiotics is that, although there are new antibiotics under development, they have not been tested against the most dangerous forms of some resistant bacteria. When infections can no longer be treated with first-line antibiotics, it is necessary to use more expensive and powerful drugs, not only increasing health care costs, but also increasing morbidity and mortality.

In a recent analysis, 79% of the infections reported to GLASS were urinary. In 33 countries, the proportion of Escherichia coli resistant to ciprofloxacin ranged from 8.4% to 92.9%, while resistance to Klebsiella pneumoniae ranged from 4.1% to 79.4%.

The overuse of antibiotics during the 2019 coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) may have accelerated the problem.

It is concerning how rapidly we are losing critically important antimicrobials around the world. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance both to protect the antimicrobials that we have, and to develop new ones in order to effectively treat infections, preserve advances in health and guarantee a safe future.


1. Alarming Antimicrobial Resistance Trends Emerge Globally. JAMA News and Analysis. July 21, 2020. Volume 324, Number 3.


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