Published November 16, 2023
Why is antibiotic resistance dangerous?
Antibiotic resistance has become one of the greatest health challenges of the 21st century, jeopardizing the effectiveness of infection treatment and increasing healthcare costs. Every year in Europe, over 35,000 people lose their lives due to the consequences of antibiotic resistance. In the Czech Republic, resistant bacteria annually cause the death of about 500 people, which is more than the number of traffic accident victims. If this negative trend continues, by the year 2050, up to 10 million people globally could die annually due to antibiotic resistance. However, this alarming statistic can be mitigated if we actively address this threat.
The solution to the problem of antibiotic resistance lies in the “One Health” approach, which means a comprehensive and collaborative approach involving experts from various fields, from doctors to scientists in agriculture and veterinary medicine. In the Czech Republic, the State Health Institute’s project for the Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance successfully educates both healthcare professionals and the public, yielding positive results.
What causes antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance primarily arises from the overuse of antibiotics. More than 70% of infections caused by resistant bacteria are attributed to six main pathogens: E. coli, S. aureus, K. pneumoniae, S. pneumoniae, A. baumannii, and P. aeruginosa. A key measure is to prevent the excessive use of antibiotics, especially in the treatment of viral infections where these drugs have no effect.
Antibiotic resistance is not only a problem in human healthcare. Globally, approximately 80% of all antibiotics are used for animals, particularly in veterinary medicine and agriculture.
Experts emphasize that resistant bacteria can transfer resistance to each other even in the absence of antibiotics. Standard wastewater treatment technologies cannot distinguish between common bacteria and those resistant to antibiotics. This means that resistant bacteria can persist in the environment and spread among humans, animals, and the surroundings.
Who is fighting against antibiotic resistance?
Overall, the fight against antibiotic resistance is a complex task that requires global collaboration and coordination. Organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and national initiatives (State Health Institute) play a crucial role in formulating policies and strategies to limit antibiotic resistance. To combat antibiotic resistance, we must act on all fronts, including responsible antibiotic use in healthcare, restricting their use in agriculture and veterinary medicine, and improving the monitoring and management of wastewater to prevent the spread of resistant bacteria in the environment.
Want to know more?
Hyde Park Civilization
Antibiotics are losing their strength.
For current information on antibiotic resistance, check out the interview with Dr. Marek Štefan on the show:
and on the website made by National Institute od Public Health: