Antimicrobial resistance in the Western Pacific
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) happens when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics). Microorganisms that develop AMR are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”. As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others. AMR occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. However, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is accelerating this process.
Antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem that affects all of society and is driven by many interconnected factors. Single, isolated interventions have limited impact. Coordinated action is required to minimize the emergence and spread of AMR. All countries need national action plans on AMR, and greater innovation and investment are required in research and development of new antimicrobial medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tools.