WHO Report Reveals High Level Of Bacteria Resistance, Causing Life-Threatening Bloodstream Infections


A new World Health Organization (WHO) report has revealed high level of bacteria resistance, causing life-threatening bloodstream infections.

It has also revealed increasing resistance to treatment of several bacteria, causing common infections in the community, based on data.

The report, made available on Friday, said the data was reported by 87 countries in 2020.

“For the first time, the Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS) report provides analyses for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) rates in the context of national testing coverage, AMR trends since 2017.

“It also reported data on antimicrobial consumption in humans in 27 countries,” the report said, adding that within six years, GLASS achieved participation from 127 countries with 72 per cent of the world’s population.

The report includes an innovative interactive digital format to facilitate data extraction and graphics,” it said, showing that high levels (above 50 per cent) of resistance were reported in bacteria frequently causing bloodstream infections in hospitals, such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter spp.

The report said that these life-threatening infections required treatment with last-resort antibiotics, such as carbapenems.

It said, however, that 8 per cent of bloodstream infections caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae, were reported as resistant to carbapenems, increasing the risk of death due to unmanageable infections.

“Common bacterial infections are becoming increasingly resistant to treatments. Over 60 per cent of Neisseria gonorrhoea isolates, a common sexually-transmitted disease, have shown resistance to one of the most used oral antibacterials, ciprofloxacin.

“Over 20 per cent of E.coli isolates, the most common pathogen in urinary tract infections, are resistant to both first-line drugs (ampicillin and co-trimoxazole) and second-line treatments (fluoroquinolones).

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, said that antimicrobial resistance undermines modern medicine and puts millions of lives at risk.

“To truly understand the extent of the global threat and mount an effective public health response to AMR, we must scale up microbiology testing and provide quality-assured data across all countries, not just wealthier ones,” Ghebreyesus said.

He said although most resistance trends have remained stable over the past four years, bloodstream infections due to resistant Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. and resistant gonorrhoea infections increased by at least 15 per cent compared to rates in 2017.

Ghebreyesus said that more research is needed to identify the reasons behind the observed AMR increase and to what extent it is related to raised hospitalizations and increased antibiotic treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the pandemic also meant that several countries were unable to report data for 2020.

According to him, the new analyses show that countries with a lower testing coverage, mostly low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), are more likely to report significantly higher AMR rates for most “bug-drug” combinations.

“This may be (partly) due to the fact that in many LMICs, a limited number of referral hospitals report to GLASS.

“These hospitals often care for the sickest patients who may have received previous antibiotic treatment.

“For example, the global median AMR levels were 42 per cent (E. Coli) and 35 per cent (Methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – MRSA) – the two AMR Sustainable Development Goal indicators,” he said. (NAN)