What is Antimicrobial Resistance?
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when organisms are resistant to antimicrobial agents that would usually be used for treatment of an infection. Antimicrobial resistance develops when organisms are exposed to antimicrobial agents through clinical therapy and use in the agricultural setting. The overuse, misuse, and abuse of antibiotics is the leading factor that contributes to the continued development of antimicrobial resistance. Use of antibiotics in the agricultural setting to promote the growth of feed animals also impacts the development of antimicrobial resistance.
How is Antimicrobial Resistance spread?
Antimicrobial resistance can be transmitted from person-to-person, from organisms that are persistent in the environment, or from resistant bacteria that contaminate food.
Prevention of Antimicrobial Resistance
The best way to prevent the development of antimicrobial resistance is through the judicious use of antimicrobials. Patients can ensure judicious antimicrobial use by:
- Talking to your healthcare provider about measures to relieve symptoms without using antibiotics
- Taking prescribed antibiotics exactly as directed by your healthcare provider
- Never pressuring your healthcare provider for an antibiotic prescription
- Never saving antibiotics for the next time you are sick
Healthcare professionals can help prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance by:
- Prescribing an antibiotic that targets the bacteria that is most likely causing the infection
- Not treating asymptomatic colonized patients
- Prescribing an antibiotic only when it will benefit the patient
Types of Antimicrobial Resistance
There are various antimicrobial resistant pathogens. Examples of drug-resistant pathogens include Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI), Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Vancomycin-Intermediate or Vancomycin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VISA/VRSA).