The Forum's participants warned of an impending public-health catastrophe caused by the emergence and spread of bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics, if no action is taken.
The delegates at the third World HAI Forum on healthcare-associated infections - a bioMérieux initiative taking place every two years - called upon national and international health authorities and policy makers, the medical and veterinary communities, industry, and the general public to take urgent action in order to avert potentially disastrous developments in public health, with the emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria.
While research to discover novel antibiotics has slowed to a virtual standstill, bacterial resistance has increased due to the massive use and misuse of antibiotics, not only for human health, but also for animals. The treatment of certain common infections is becoming difficult and the success of immunosuppressive therapies and surgical interventions (such as organ transplants and cardiac surgery), which are associated with a high risk of bacterial infection, could be compromised.
To the Forum's experts, the emergence of pan-resistant NDM-1 bacteria and the epidemic of multidrug-resistant E. coli infections, currently affecting Europe, should be taken as a major public-health warning, indicating that a new era of antimicrobial resistance has begun. This must lead to a global awakening: the protection of antibiotics has now entered the sphere of sustainable development.
In a continuation of calls to action and proposals made by major national and international organizations (WHO, ECDC, IDSA, CDC, etc.), the Forum's participants identified priority action areas to fight bacterial resistance and recommended 12 very concrete actions to be implemented, in the short to medium term, to effectively address this serious problem.
• Priority actions for policy makers and health authorities
-For animals, stop the administration of antibiotics used in human medicine and limit antibiotics to therapeutic use only. It is imperative to reserve the most important classes of antibiotics for humans.
-Banish, in all countries, the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed.
-Regulate the sale of antibiotics for use in human medicine and prohibit over-the-counter sales worldwide.
-Have international organizations (WHO, European Union) develop a charter on good antibiotic stewardship and have all the ministries of health worldwide sign it and commit to respecting it.
?Priority actions for the human and veterinary healthcare communities
-Establish standardized, universal surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance and monitor the emergence and spread of new forms of bacterial resistance.
-Include, in the medical- and veterinary-school curricula, a solid training in bacterial resistance and the prudent use of antibiotics and establish on-the-job training programmes for healthcare workers, taking into account the cultural specificities of each country.
• Priority actions for the general public
-Develop culturally sensitive awareness campaigns, targeted to the general public, explaining the importance of protecting antibiotics and using them only when absolutely necessary.
-Provide education about fundamental hygiene, such as hand-washing, to prevent the spread of infection. It is imperative to improve sanitation systems to eliminate resistant bacteria in wastewater.
-Include consumers in the development and implementation of action plans.
• Priority actions for industry
-Develop Point-of-Care and rapid diagnostic tests, which can be used at the patient's bedside or the doctor's office, to guide the prescription of antibiotics and avoid their prescription for viral infections.
-Stimulate research and development of novel antibiotics.
-Find new economic models, which reconcile public-health interests with industry needs for profitability.
About the World HAI Forum
The third biennial World HAI Forum took place in Annecy (in south-eastern France) from 27 to 29 June 2011. The Forum was characterized by the exceptional geographical diversity of its participants, coming from 33 countries.
While most such meetings focus on scientific developments retrospectively, in an academic format, the World HAI Forum, which is held every two years, gives participating experts a chance to do prospective analysis of subjects that are not usually discussed. More time is devoted to sharing best practices, successes and failures in the fight against multidrug-resistant bacteria, as a basis for building effective action plans.
A world leader in microbiology and a pioneer in resistance detection and susceptibility testing, bioMérieux works closely with healthcare professionals in the three key areas of infection control — prevention, surveillance and intervention. Diagnostic tests are paramount to success in the fight against infections with resistant bacteria.
As part of its commitment to fight hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and microbial resistance, bioMérieux has also held HAI symposia around the world over the past three years, in countries including Belgium, China, Colombia, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain and the United States.
To hear what experts discussed at the Forum, please go to: www.hai-forum.comFor further information about the Forum, please go to: www.bioMerieux.com/hai-resistance
• Advancing Diagnostics to Improve Public Health
A world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics for over 45 years, bioMérieux is present in more than 150 countries through 39 subsidiaries and a large network of distributors. In 2010, revenues reached €1,357 billion, with 87% of sales outside France.
bioMérieux provides diagnostic solutions (reagents, instruments and software), which determine the source of disease and contamination to improve patient health and ensure consumer safety. The company's products are used for diagnosing infectious diseases and providing high-medical-value results for cancer screening and monitoring, and for cardiovascular emergencies. bioMérieux's solutions are also used for detecting micro-organisms in agri-food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.
bioMérieux is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange (Symbol: BIM — ISIN: FR0010096479).
For further information about bioMérieux, please go to: www.biomerieux.com
Mary-Ann Williams | UBIFRANCE
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