Antibiotic resistance: a Global Issue

Not only does antibiotic resistance (ABR) affect you, but it also affects global populations. Due to the ease of the sharing of genetic material between bacteria and the environmental resilience of many bacterial populations, ABR can spread quickly and efficiently. ABR is found in bacteria spanning dozens of countries around the globe and continues to be a concerning issue.

In the United States alone, a multitude of antibiotic resistant bacteria have been reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. An especially worrying species of bacteria is Streptococcus pneumonia, known to cause bacterial meningitis (a serious condition involving the inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal chord). The CDC reported 1.2 million cases of antibiotic resistant Streptococcus pneumonia causing an estimated 7000 deaths in the year of 20131. This is just one example from an extensive list of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

Of course, ABR is not an issue isolated to the US, or even North America. Data supplied by countries around the world to the WHO illustrate an ABR epidemic spanning the globe. This table from the BC medical journal adapted from a 2014 WHO report demonstrates the widespread presence of ABR:2

This research further demonstrates ABR as a global issue. The BC Medical Journal also describes examples like MRSA bacteria in hospitals and communities necessitating “requiring second-line treatment” causing increased treatment costs and requiring additional monitoring for side effects.2 ABR not only is detrimental to the health of its patients but also to the healthcare infrastructure surrounding those patients.

ABR is a global issue with many adverse implications making it difficult for physicians and present healthcare infrastructure to provide adequate treatment for those affected by resistant bacteria.


1“Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed June 8, 2016.

2Wang, Sophie Y., Diana George, Dale Purych, and David M. Patrick. “Antibiotic Resistance: A Global Threat to Public Health.” BC Medical Journal, 6th ser., 56, no. BCMJ (July 2014).


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