The World AMR Awareness Week will dive this year into Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and how it manifests when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites develop insensitivity to antimicrobial agents. This phenomenon renders antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents ineffective, complicating or rendering infections challenging to treat. This, in turn, elevates the risk of disease transmission, severe illness, and mortality.
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Navigating Antimicrobial Resistance: A Global Call to Action
World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) stands as a global initiative aimed at elevating awareness and comprehension of AMR. It advocates for implementing best practices among One Health stakeholders to curtail the emergence and dissemination of drug-resistant infections. WAAW is commemorated annually from November 18 to 24.
The theme for WAAW 2023, “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together,” echoes the 2022 theme. AMR substantially threatens humans, animals, plants, and the environment, impacting all facets of life.
This year’s theme underscores the imperative for cross-sectoral collaboration to safeguard the efficacy of antimicrobials. Effectively mitigating AMR necessitates prudent and appropriate use of antimicrobials across all sectors. Additionally, preventive measures to reduce infection rates and adherence to proper practices for disposing of antimicrobial-contaminated waste are pivotal in the collective effort to combat AMR
Superbugs and antibiotic resistance
Bacteria usually become antibiotic-resistant due to genetic mutations (often transferred to other bacteria by horizontal gene transfer). These genetic mutations cause antibiotic resistance through many mechanisms:
- Antibiotic inactivation: some bacteria can produce enzymes that inactivate and degrade the antibiotic before reaching its target.
- Modification of the antibiotic target: these microorganisms can also structurally modify the target of the antibiotic and, therefore, hinder the activity of the drug.
- Structural modifications of the bacteria: in some cases, bacteria modify the composition or structure of their membrane to avoid the entrance or facilitate the expulsion of the antibiotic.
This escalating problem is fueled by factors such as overuse and misuse of antibiotics, inadequate sanitation, and the global interconnectedness that facilitates the spread of resistant strains. The consequences are profound, with potential impacts on patient outcomes, increased healthcare costs, and a heightened risk of the spread of infectious diseases.
Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach, including responsible antibiotic use, development of new antibiotics, enhanced infection prevention measures, and global cooperation to mitigate the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The urgency to tackle antibiotic resistance underscores the importance of sustainable practices in both healthcare and agriculture to preserve the effectiveness of these critical medications for future generations.
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