Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) a new pandemic?

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) a new pandemic?

According to a recent United Nations report, the spread of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) may cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050.

The above findings are part of a report released by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on the environmental dimensions of AMR.

AMR is already having a serious impact on the health of humans, animals and plants as well as on the economy.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

  • Antimicrobial resistance is the condition of a microorganism (bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite, etc.) developing resistance against antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics) used to treat their infections.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified AMR as one of the top ten threats to global health.

Key Findings of the Report-

Microorganisms (especially bacteria) can develop immunity by exposure to resistant microorganisms that have originated in or entered the environment.

When antimicrobials are released into the environment, new AMR can develop by:

  • By spontaneous mutation, acquisition and transmission by mobile genetic elements.
  • By horizontal gene transfer events between bacteria associated with the environment and plants, animals or humans.
  • AMR challenges are closely linked to the triple threat of the Earth.
  • These threats are: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and waste.

There are 3 major areas of development and spread of AMR in the environment:

  • Pharmaceuticals and other chemical manufacturing, agriculture and food production, and health care.
  • The transmission and spread of AMR is not limited to point-sources. Transient and diffuse sources can also play an important role in its spread.
  • Transient and diffuse sources include agricultural water runoff, airborne transmission, wildlife migration, etc.
  • Point-source – Any single identifiable source.

Key recommendations made in the report

  • An organized system approach like One Health approach should be adopted.
  • Environmental considerations also need to be included in AMR national action plans.
  • A strong governing, planning and legal framework should be created at the national level.
  • Global efforts to improve integrated water management should be promoted.
  • Emphasis should be given on monitoring and monitoring of the environment.

Source – Down to Earth

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