Preventing antimicrobial resistance
The World Health Organisation has declared the AMR is one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.
What is antimicrobial resistance?
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
AMR occurs when this bacteria, virus, fungi and parasite changes over time and no longer responds to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death. As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.
Antimicrobials, including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics, are medicines used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals, and plants.
Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs".1
What are the consequences?
The United Nations are predicting that in 2050 there will be 10 million deaths due to AMR if nothing else is done.2 This is alarming, and we need to act now.
Antimicrobial resistance causes a strain on health systems. Many studies have demonstrated the financial consequences of AMR, including extremely high healthcare costs due to an increase in hospital admissions, longer hospital stays, more intensive care units and isolation beds, and expensive, intensive therapy. Healthcare professionals are also forced to to use less conventional antibiotics or a combination of different antibiotics to treat these infections, which are usually more expensive and which could also have serious side effects.2
According to the FAO, if the issue of AMR is not addressed urgently, tens of millions of people will be forced into extreme poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
Antibiotics are also used to treat our beloved pets and animals. Antibiotic-resistance infections are likely to occur in companion animals, which can not only make our pets very unwell and difficult to treat, but can also spread through veterinary clinics and to humans.
Companion animals can carry MRSA, E.Coli, Salmonella, and other drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.3
AMR and Climate Change
One area we may not associate with antimicrobial resistance but does have an alarming effect is climate change. An increasingly warm climate and global warming creates new environments for resistant bacteria, worsening the AMR fight.
Studies have shown that an increase in temperature correlates with an increase in resistant bacteria.4
Antimicrobial Resistance: What can we do to help?
We all have a part to play in preventing antimicrobial resistnace. We must practice good infection prevention and control practices both at home and in healthcare settings.
And we must start at the source - humans.
Humans are the biggest source of bacteria, with the average human carrying 1 kilo of microorganisms in their bodies, although it is worth nothing most of these are non-pathogenic and beneficial to us.
Any bacteria carried by the human body can be passed directly through physical contact, or indirectly through touching a contaminated surface or object.
How do we tackle this? By practicing effective hand hygiene alongside efficent, controlled, and continual surface and equipment cleaning and disinfection.
Good hand hygiene
- Regularly cleaning our hands throughoutthe day using antibacterial soap and water, or a hand sanitiser if access to a sink is not available.
- Ensuring a deep cleaning of hands after using the bathroom, before and after visting any healthcare settings, before and after touching communal objetcs or surfaces, such as handrails.
Surface and equipment disinfection
- Regularly disinfect surfaces throughout the day using an isopropanol alcohol or universal formula, which offers high protection from bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, and yeasticidal pathogens.
- Disinfect non-invasive medical devices before and between every use to proect against key-microorganisms.
- A detergent wipe can be used for routine multi-surface cleaning, and a milder solution that is both alcohol and disinfectant free.
Our Azo™ Cleaning and Disinfection solutions range can provide you with the wipes and sprays you need to carry out effective surface and equipment cleaning and reduce contamination.
For more information on AMR, watch our roundtable talk where we spoke to Dr. Andrea Denton and Carole Hallam, Independent Nurse Consultants, on the topic of AMR and how healthcare professionals can help prevent it in their day-to-day practice.
Need help with your infection prevention practices?
Our cleaning and disinfection solutions can help. Get in contact with our team to discuss our cleaning range.
1. Antimicrobial resistance (who.int)
2. New report calls for urgent action to avert antimicrobial resistance crisis (who.int)
3.Antibiotic resistance in pets - Streck
4. AMR and climate change: a worrying dual threat to global health • healthcare-in-europe.com
5. Health Matters: Preventing infections and reducing AMR - UK Health Security Agency (blog.gov.uk)