News reports from many countries, including Korea, recently cover the rapid spread of “super bug,” which produces the NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1).
These bacteria are resistant to most potent antibiotics and their resistance
A growing number of patients with immune deficiency and more invasive medical procedures have led to the increase of hospital infections with multiple-drug resistant bacteria.
Moreover, more active overseas travels have also contributed to a rapid global spread of “superbug.”
All these factors, along with the dark prospects for development of new class antimicrobial agents, have raised serious concerns about a global antibiotic crisis.
In order to overcome this crisis for public health, multidisciplinary cooperation is necessary.
First of all, healthcare professionals should make the best effort for appropriate antimicrobial therapy. That is they should reduce the antibiotic prescription in unnecessary cases and also prescribe proper antibiotics.
Second, general public should follow well the directions of the dosage and duration when they take antibiotics.
Third, it is very important to improve the personal hygiene such as hand washing for both healthcare workers and the general public, because the resistant microorganisms can spread easily through the close contacts between the persons.
Fourth, more investment and encouragement for development of new class antimicrobial agents are urgent.
Fifth, some effective antibacterial vaccines can be useful to decrease the persons colonized or infected with resistant pathogens.
Thus, to overcome successfully global antibiotic crisis, it is essential to initiate the active participation of the healthcare professionals, the experts on antimicrobial resistance and infectious diseases, government, pharmaceutical companies and researchers, mass media and also general public. It is time to take action for preserving miracle drugs to save our lives.
By Chung Doo-Ryeon, M.D., Ph.D.
The writer is associate professor of medicine, division of infectious diseases, and director of Infection Control Office at Samsung Medical Center. – Ed.