What is Antimicrobial Resistance?
Antimicrobial Resistance, often referred to as ‘AMR’, is the ability of microbes (small bacteria) to grow and develop a resistance to the medicines that are used to cure them.
The more times that an antibiotic is used, the more the bacteria become resistant to it.
What does that actually mean?
This resistance to germs causes medicines to become ineffective which enables infections to persist in the body, this in turn increases the risk of spread to others.
Microorganisms which develop antimicrobial resistance are often referred to a ‘superbugs’.
Why is it a problem?
As antimicrobial resistance increases, the ability to control infections becomes more difficult for both human and animal welfare.
Routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous as they rely on access to antibiotics that work. This resistance will also result in a significant impact on organ transplantation and cancer chemotherapy as antibiotics are needed to treat the bacterial infections which can be caused by the treatment.
What are we doing in Greater Manchester?
Antimicrobial resistance is a natural biological phenomenon, but it is accelerated by various factors such as misuse of medicines, poor infection control practices and global trade and travel. These are areas where we can make changes to reduce the risk.
In Greater Manchester, The Greater Manchester Resilience Forum and the Local Health Resilience Partnership are working together with Greater Manchester organisations to develop a response based on the UK antimicrobial resistance strategy objectives which aim to:
- Improve infection prevention and control practices
- Optimise the way antibiotics are prescribed
- Improve professional education and public engagement
- Develop new drugs, treatments and diagnostics
- Provide better access to and use of surveillance data
- Better identification and prioritisation of AMR research needs
- Strengthened international collaboration
What can you do to help?
There are a number of actions which you can take to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance:
- Don’t ask for antibiotics, consider alternatives, and ask a pharmacist about over the counter remedies that can help
- Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed, never save them for future use, never share with others, and always complete the course
- Hand hygiene is important and parents should make sure that children and friends understand the importance of it
You can practice effective hand hygiene by washing your hands properly:
- before, during and after preparing food
- before eating
- after using the toilet
- after coughing, sneezing, or touching someone who is ill
- after touching animals, raw meat or rubbish
What else do I need to know about Antimicrobial Resistance?
- 25,000 people within Europe die each year from infections resistant to antibiotics
- A new class of antibiotics has not been introduced for 30 years
- Only 10% of sore throats and 20% of acute sinusitis benefit from antibiotic treatment, but prescription rates are much higher
- The annual cost to the European Union for healthcare expenses and lost productivity due to antibiotic resistant bacteria is €1.5billion