Growing health problem
What is AMR? Here are some questions answered about the subject.
What are antimicrobial drugs?
These are the drugs which destroy harmful microbes. Antibiotics are the best known of these drugs, but there are others, such as antivirals, antimalarial drugs and antifungals.
What is antimicrobial resistance?
AMR occurs when micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites evolve to resist the drugs that combat the infections that they cause. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread. When the micro-organisms become resistant to antimicrobial drugs they are often referred to as “superbugs”.
How does this happen?
The WHO says that antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. But other factors have helped to accelerate the process such as the “misuse and overuse” of antimicrobial drugs. Other factors include poor infection control, inadequate sanitary conditions and inappropriate food-handling.
What infections should not be treated with antibiotics?
Viral infections should not be treated with antibiotics. Common infections caused by viruses include colds, flu, some sore throats, most coughs and bronchitis, many sinus infections and many ear infections.