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Keywords:

  • Antimicrobial resistance;
  • resistance management;
  • national;
  • international programs;
  • audit;
  • guidelines

Growing concern over the spread of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials has prompted a plethora of recommendations for its control. Strategic programs for resistance containment have been initiated in various countries, particularly in Western Europe and North America. The World Health Organization and the European Union have responded to the need for international action by publishing guidance and encouraging collaboration. These recommendations rightly focus on controlling resistance in the community. They agree on the importance of surveillance of resistance patterns and antibiotic usage and the need to encourage judicious antibiotic usage (especially through education of prescribers and the public). Yet there remains a pressing need for the implementation of effective actions to address these issues. Important considerations given less attention include infection prevention (e.g. through immunization), the use of rapid diagnostic tests to reduce antibiotic usage, audit of implemented actions, and the provision of feedback. Furthermore, research is necessary to fill the substantial gaps in our knowledge. Notably, the reversibility or containment of resistance with the optimization of antibiotic usage has yet to be definitely established. For now, antimicrobial management programs should focus on ensuring the most appropriate use of antimicrobials rather than simply on limiting choices. Finally, developed countries must recognize that a truly global approach to resistance containment will require greater support for developing countries.