In the USA, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 2.8 million people have antibiotic-resistant bacteria or fungal infections and of those cases 35000 are fatal.
It is expected that there will be increasing deaths as more and more bacteria and other microbes continue to become resistant to antimicrobials.
Antimicrobial resistance is a significant issue for us all. Over time bacteria and other microbes have built up tolerance to antimicrobials, like antibiotics.
The problem is made worse as there is low levels of antimicrobials used in water and feed for animals to keep mortality rates low. This means that there is a low level of antimicrobials in use which is contributing to the resistance.
We have all changed our behaviours in the last two years because of a virus called SARS CoV-2, but this antimicrobial resistance is a pandemic which some know about (and are terrified) and many do not yet, and it is going to also impact everyone.
The magic silver bullet of antimicrobials no longer have the power they have had in the past. All over the world there are scientists working frantically to find alternatives to antimicrobials in controlling or eliminating infections in humans.
In aged care and hospital, antimicrobial stewardship is one of the requirements of their relevant Standards. These organisations have a responsibility to provide education and support to their clients and patients in reducing antibiotic usage.
In the food industry this level of organizational responsibility is not as high, however there is a need to be aware that antimicrobials may be in raw materials and to ensure that this is included in the Approved Supplier Program.
Antimicrobial Resistance is something we all have to take some responsibility for by doing the right things, including using antibiotics as prescribed.