WHO: Number of multi-resistant germs rises threateningly

500,000 cases of multi-resistant germs have already been detected

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published a terrifying report on the first evaluation of its new antimicrobial monitoring system "GLASS". This report shows that the worldwide spread of antibiotic resistance is increasing rapidly and has already occurred in 500,000 people in 22 different countries. "The report confirms the serious situation of antibiotic resistance worldwide," warns Dr. Marc Sprenger, Director of the WHO Secretariat for Antibiotic Resistance. The resistant germs are spreading even more in Germany.

The National Reference Center for the Monitoring of Multi-Resistant Germs estimates that 15,000 patients die in Germany every year from the consequences of diseases caused by multi-resistant bacteria, especially in hospitals. The German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) also notes that "almost every tenth patient is populated with multi-resistant germs when they arrive at the clinic," reports Dr. Axel Hamprecht in a press release from the institute. According to the WHO report, numerous pathogens are already partially immune. This also includes the causative agents of pneumonia and the coli bacterium (Escherichia coli). High and low income countries are affected by high resistance to a number of serious bacterial infections.

Multi-resistant pathogens have no limits

"Some of the world's most common - and possibly most dangerous - infections are resistant to medication," explains Sprenger. And the most worrying thing is that pathogens do not respect national borders. For this reason, the WHO is motivating all countries to set up good monitoring systems to detect drug resistance and to share the data obtained for a global system. So far, only 22 countries have participated in the documentation of such germs.

One of the biggest threats to global public health

"The report is an important first step to improve our understanding of the extent of antimicrobial resistance," said Sprenger. Surveillance is still in its infancy. Dr. Carmem Pessoa-Silva, who coordinates the new WHO surveillance system, stresses the importance of surveillance because it is about anticipating and addressing one of the greatest threats to global public health.

Which strains of bacteria are resistant?

According to the WHO report, the most frequently described resistant bacteria are Escherichia coli (urinary tract infections, gastroenteritis and meningitis), Klebsiella pneumoniae (among other things triggers of various forms of pneumonia), Staphylococcus aureus (among others skin infections and wound infections) and Streptococcus pneumoniae ( can cause pneumonia and blood poisoning, for example), followed by Salmonella spp. (Gastrointestinal infections). The system currently does not contain data on the resistance of Mycobacteriums tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis. This should be expanded in the future. However, the DZIF has already proven multiresistant tuberculosis pathogens in Germany.

Threateningly high proportions of multi-resistance

The WHO report shows that the proportion of multi-resistant bacteria is enormous in some countries. In patients suspected of being poisoned with blood, the proportion of bacteria resistant to at least one of the most commonly used antibiotics was up to 82 percent. This value fluctuates very strongly from country to country and was still zero percent in some countries. Resistance to penicillin, which is often used to treat pneumonia, ranged from zero to 51 percent in the reporting countries. And eight to 65 percent of the coli bacteria showed resistance to ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic that is commonly used to treat these bacteria.

WHO helps build a global surveillance system

According to the WHO report, data quality still needs to be improved in some countries. Some countries face major challenges in building their national surveillance systems, including staff, finance and infrastructure shortages. WHO now wants to help more countries establish national antibiotic resistance monitoring systems to provide more reliable and meaningful data. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: Infections with Multidrug-Resistant Organisms MDROs (August 2020).