WHO report on rate of antimicrobial resistance

09 June 2020

Article: 54/2304

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that a record number of countries are now monitoring and reporting on antibiotic resistance, marking a major step forward in the global fight against drug resistance. However, the data they provide reveals that a number of bacterial infections are increasingly resistant to the medicines available to treat them.

Since the WHO Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS) report in 2018, participation has grown exponentially. The system now aggregates data from more than 64,000 surveillance sites. with more than two million patients enrolled from 66 countries across the world. In 2018 the number of surveillance sites was 729 across 22 countries.

More countries are also reporting on the recently approved indicator on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) monitoring. High rates of resistance among antimicrobials frequently used to treat common infections, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) or some forms of diarrhoea, indicate that effective ways to tackle these diseases are decreasing. For instance, the rate of resistance to ciprofloxacin, an antimicrobial frequently used to treat UTIs, varied from 8.4% to 92.9% in 33 reporting countries.

The WHO express concern that this trend will be further fuelled by potentially inappropriate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic, and by declining investment and innovation in the development of new antimicrobial treatments.

Source: WHO, 1 June 2020