WHO director-general discusses antimicrobial resistance

The WHO director-general recently discussed antimicrobial resistance.
The WHO director-general recently discussed antimicrobial resistance.

Resistance to antibiotics is a hot topic, as the world has seen the devastating impacts of two viruses over the past few years. 

Ebola was the hot topic a few years ago, and the Zika virus is currently sweeping through Latin American countries.

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan addressed the ministerial conference on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) regarding antibiotic drug resistance.

“We face a crisis -- we are hearing one alarm bell after another,” Chan said. “Minister Schippers mentioned Zika and Ebola, two cross-border epidemics that are currently ongoing. We are meeting here today to discuss AMR, another cross-border, slow-moving tsunami. Early warnings have been issued on AMR and its impact. We must act.”

Some of the issues occur when doctors overprescribe, but antibiotics in the food supply create even more severe concerns.

“Compelling evidence shows that resistance is driven by the total volume of antibiotics used, also in food production,” Chan said. “Worldwide, antibiotic use in humans, animals and agriculture is still increasing, despite effective reductions in some countries.”

The issues are prevalent in both the U.S. and the European Union.

“In several large emerging economies, studies have consistently documented a rise in the demand for meat as household incomes improve,” Chan said. “This growing demand, especially when met by intensive farming practices, contributes to the massive use of antibiotics in livestock production.”

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