Worldwide Use of Antibiotics

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  • Published: 20 September 2015
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Nature/Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
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A report of the non-profit Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) looks at the current state of antibiotic use and resistance in humans and animals around the globe. The organization used data from scientific literature and national and regional surveillance systems to calculate and map the rate of antibiotic resistance for 12 types of bacteria in 39 countries. In addition, they listed trends in antibiotic use in 69 countries over the past ten years or longer. This is the first time data from a significant number of developing countries have been brought together publicly. The findings were released via CDDEP’s ResistanceMap, an interactive online tool that allows users to track the latest global trends in drug resistance and antibiotic use.

Global antibiotic consumption grew by 30 % between 2000 and 2010. Human and animal antibiotic use is rising dramatically in middle-income countries – particularly China, India, Brazil and South Africa. Per capita use in these countries is still less than half what it is in the United States. The increase, driven by increased prosperity, includes a great deal of unnecessary and inappropriate use. In many countries, antibiotics are widely available over the counter and sanitation is poor.

Compared to all other countries, India has the highest rates of resistance to nearly every drug used to treat it. Strains of Escherichia coli are more than 80 % resistant to three different classes of drugs, meaning treatment options are becoming increasingly limited.

Most high-income countries have begun to come up with regulations on antibiotic use. Over the past eight years the number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections has dropped in many countries; the UK is an example.
The report gives six national-level strategies to help countries combat antibiotic resistance and to conserve antibiotic effectiveness for future generations. These strategies include improving sanitation and policies that restrict antibiotic use in agriculture and hospitals.

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