World waging war against invasion

The United Nations global health agency is working to reduce antimicrobial resistance with a worldwide campaign to promote better living and more effective medical services.

November 18 is the start of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week because an infection that causes communicable disease can be more deadly than any military invasion.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.

Researchers estimated that antimicrobial resistance in bacteria caused an estimated 1.27 million deaths in 2019.

A global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines was endorsed at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015.

One of the key objectives of the plan is to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training.

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is a global campaign that is celebrated annually to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance and encourage best practices among the public, One Health stakeholders and policymakers, who all play a critical role in reducing the further emergence and spread of super bugs, or organisms causing diseases that develop antimicrobial resistance.

This year, the theme of WAAW is “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together.”

The World Health Organization is calling on all sectors to encourage the prudent use of antimicrobials and to strengthen preventive measures addressing antimicrobial resistance, working together collaboratively through a One Health approach.

Antimicrobial resistance is a significant public health problem in the U.S. and around the world as infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, especially in healthcare facilities and in people with weakened immune systems.

A number of pathogens are increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics and antifungals.

In the United States, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is researching illnesses of growing concern to human health, including pathogens identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as urgent, serious, and concerning threats.

The rise of antimicrobial-resistant microbes has led to an urgent need to preserve the efficacy of current antibiotics, develop new ones and identify alternative treatment strategies.

NIAID has a substantial research program to spur development of new therapeutics against drug-resistant viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi and to identify alternative approaches.

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