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Antimicrobial drugs, especially those antibiotics Targeted at bacteria, they are among the most precious medical resources today. Antibiotics are crucial to modern medicine, as they cure and even help prevent many types of infections. Without them, many routine procedures that carry a high risk of infection, such as complex surgeries or the administration of immunosuppressive treatments to people with cancer, could not be performed.
However, these antibiotics must be administered rationally, and only when prescribed by the doctor, since the more they are used, the more pressure the bacteria have to develop resistance. As a consequence of its intensive use, microorganisms mutate and find ways to resist to the effects of antibiotics. For this reason, antimicrobials are losing their effectiveness in an alarming way: resistant pathogens survive, grow and spread their resistance, causing more and more deaths and more pressure for care.
A global threat
The development and spread of multi-resistant bacteria is a real threat for global public health today, as recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). These resistant bacteria produce up to 700,000 deaths annually in the world and, recently, it has been estimated that they could cause the death of 10 million people in the year 2050, surpassing cancer as the first cause of death.
In Spain, according to Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC), the results are overwhelming, and each year, more than 35,000 people they die with infections produced by multi-resistant bacteria. These data are worrying since they cause an increase in medical costs, a prolongation of hospital stays and an increase in mortality.
Consequently, as the pharmaceutical company emphasizes Pfizer “Caution must be exercised in the use of this type of medicine”. In addition, as warned by the United Nations (UN) and the National Plan against Antibiotic Resistance of the Ministry of Health, the increased use of antibiotic treatments in the context of the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, could facilitate the development of resistant bacteria and reduce the effectiveness of future treatments.
Although covid-19 is a viral infection, there are patients with the possibility of secondary bacterial infection in whom antibiotic prescription should be considered. For this reason, this year it is more important than ever to try to avoid bacterial infections through vaccination and hand hygiene, common gestures in preventing the spread of flu and covid-19.
Aware of the current magnitude of the problem and under the commitment to join the effort that WHO leads annually, the biopharmaceutical company Pfizer supports the world awareness week on the use of antimicrobials in 2020 to increase the sensitization on antimicrobial resistance. For this reason, this year it has launched the ‘Act Now-Stop Resistances’ campaign, based on a commitment document supported by all medical societies and patients involved and which seeks to be a call to action for all of society.
This initiative, which has the support and collaboration of the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC), the Spanish Society of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Hygiene (SEMPSPH), the Spanish Society of Hospital Pharmacy (SEFH), the Spanish Society of Intensive, Critical Medicine and Coronary Units (SEMICYUC) and the Platform of Patient Organizations (POP) seek to promote awareness of antibiotic resistance, through their rational use and of the urgent need to promote awareness education and prevention education, through measures such as vaccination and in key gestures such as hand hygiene.
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