WASHINGTON, Mar 2: THE World Health Organization (WHO) has listed bacteria that pose “the greatest threat to human health” due to their resistance to medicines, as it warned that the experts are “fast running out of treatment options.”
The WHO said 12 families of bacteria have been determined to have developed resistance to antimicrobial medicines.
“Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. Waiting any longer will cause further public health problems and dramatically impact on patient care,” said Dr. Marie-Paule
WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation.
The list of 12 bacteria is divided into critical, high, and medium categories, based on the urgency of the need for new antibiotics.
Under the “critical” category are Acinetobacter baumannii (carbapenem-resistant); Pseudomonas aeruginosa (carbapenem-resistant); and Enterobacteriaceae (carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing).
The “critical” group is resistant to carbapenems or antibiotics used to treat infections of people who are hospitalized, in nursing homes, or those who use ventilators, blood catheters and other device.
“They can cause severe and often deadly infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia,” the WHO said.
Under the “high” bacteria category are Enterococcus faecium (vancomycin-resistant); Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant); Helicobacter pylori (clarithromycin-resistant); Campylobacter spp. (fluoroquinolone-resistant); Salmonellae (fluoroquinolone-resistant); and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (cephalosporin-resistant, fluoroquinolone-resistant).
These are bacteria resistant to antibiotics that are used to treat infection in the intestines, throat, skin, respiratory and the urinary tract.
Under the “medium” category are Streptococcus pneumonia (penicillin-non-susceptible); Haemophilus influenza (ampicillin-resistant); and Shigella spp. (fluoroquinolone-resistant).
“The second and third tiers in the list – the high and medium priority categories – contain other increasingly drug-resistant bacteria that cause more common diseases such as gonorrhoea and food poisoning caused by salmonella,” said the WHO.
Drug-resistant bacteria, the WHO said, can pass along genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well.
According to Kieny, the WHO issued the list in order to serve as a new tool to ensure research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics.
The WHO said the list is intended to spur governments to put in place policies that incentivize basic science and advanced R&D by both publicly-funded agencies and the private sector investing in new antibiotic discovery.
Nevertheless, the WHO reminded the public that preventing AMR is also anchored on better prevention of infections among the public.
Kieny called on the public to practice appropriate use of existing antibiotics among humans and animals in order to prevent AMR.