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WHO Calls On Countries To Prevent, Control Spread Of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Amid the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, the WHO on Friday urged countries to take greater action to limit the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, CIDRAP News reports. “Calling such pathogens ‘a growing and global public health problem,’ the WHO said, ‘Countries should be prepared to implement hospital infection control measures to limit the spread of multi-drug resistant strains and to reinforce national policy on prudent use of antibiotics, reducing the generation of antibiotic resistant bacteria,'” according to the news service  (Roos, 8/20).

The WHO statement follows a Lancet Infectious Diseases study published earlier this month, which identified a gene that enables some types of bacteria to become highly resistant to most antibiotics, Agence France-Presse reports (8/21).

“While multi-drug resistant bacteria are not new and will continue to appear, this development requires monitoring and further study to understand the extent and modes of transmission, and to define the most effective measures for control,” according to a WHO press release (8/20).

“The agency said consumers, prescribers and dispensers, veterinarians, hospital managers and diagnostic laboratories, patients and visitors to health-care facilities, as well as national governments, the pharmaceutical industry, professional societies, and international agencies, should be aware of the problem,” U.N. News Centre adds (8/20).

The WHO recommended that governments focus their efforts to control and prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance on four main areas including: surveillance, education about appropriate use of antibiotics, “introducing or enforcing legislation related to stopping the selling of antibiotics without prescription; and strict adherence to infection prevention and control measures, including the use of hand-washing measures, particularly in healthcare facilities,” according to the WHO release (8/20).

CIDRAP News includes comments by Neil Fishman, president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and Brandi Limbago of the CDC, who address the threat posed by the newly discovered resistant gene, New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) (8/20).

“So far, researchers have reported the vast majority of [NDM-1] cases in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh,” fijivillage.com reports. “Other cases have been reported from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, the USA and Sweden, adding it is possible that NDM-1 bacteria have spread to other countries but have not been identified” (Naisoro, 8/23).

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