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WHAT IS ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE?

What if water could no longer put out fire? What if, over time, fire evolved to outsmart water—raging uncontrolled to destroy everything in its path?

Now, imagine instead of fire, it’s germs. Specific strains of bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites that make people sick have learned how to defeat the antimicrobials (medicines such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics) designed to treat them. This is called antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These drug-resistant germs, also known as superbugs, are currently putting millions of people at risk of developing a life-threatening, untreatable infection.

ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE: AN INVISIBLE ENEMY

While superbugs may sound like science fiction, they are a very real danger and can spread between people, animals, and the environment (through drinking water and soil).

ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE: AN UNKNOWN ENEMY

In 2021, an online survey was carried out among 6,330 adults living in the United States, Brazil, China, India, and Spain. Globally, only half of adults surveyed (52%) were aware of the term antimicrobial resistance, but fewer had knowledge of the effects of AMR. Learn more about the survey conducted and the findings below.

KNOW YOUR RISK

Who is at risk of infection with a superbug? In short: everyone. But AMR is hardest on people most vulnerable to infection:

  • Young children and people over the age of 60
  • People with underlying conditions like heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, and people with autoimmune conditions.

SEPSIS AND ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE (AMR)

Sepsis, the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection, is one of the most significant health complications that can result from antimicrobial resistance. Like strokes or heart attacks, sepsis is a medical emergency that requires rapid diagnosis and treatment. Sepsis can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

How is an antimicrobial-resistant infection connected to sepsis? Antimicrobial resistance challenges the treatment of sepsis. As more germs become resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat infection, more people are at risk for developing sepsis.

A MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

How did this happen? The answer is complicated, but two contributing factors are:

  1. Not taking antimicrobials as intended: taking them too often, unnecessarily, or not finishing a course of medicine. The more a germ is exposed to the same antimicrobials designed to take it down, the more likely it is to learn how to outsmart the medicine and survive.
  2. While superbugs have evolved, our antimicrobials have not. First widely used in the 1940s, antimicrobials (starting with the antibiotic penicillin) have saved millions of lives. But after this major discovery, there have been few new advancements.

Antimicrobial resistance means common medical procedures—dentist visits,
cesarean sections (C-sections), hip replacements, chemotherapy, and organ
transplants—will carry a greater risk of infection.


HOW CAN WE HELP TAKE DOWN ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE?

Taking simple precautions can help us fight back. Remember: the POWER to defeat superbugs is up to us.


Help POWER the AMRevolution! Click below to share this page with your friends and family:

The PASTEUR Act: What is it, and how does it impact sepsis patients?

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and dysregulated response to an infection. It can be bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic in origin, but it is always caused by a germ, and often requires effective antimicrobials to treat. That’s why antimicrobial resistance—germs learning to outsmart our best weapons against them—is a critical issue for sepsis advocates. As fewer drugs work effectively against infectious germs, sepsis cases will become increasingly difficult to treat, and more sepsis patients will die.

The PASTEUR Act is a proposed piece of federal legislation that seeks to curb the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. It would do so by encouraging the development of new drugs and protecting the ones we already have. For example:

  • The PASTEUR Act would establish a “de-linked” subscription model between the government and developers of new antimicrobials. Current reimbursement between the government and drug makers is based on quantity of sales, but the subscription model outlined in the PASTEUR Act would allow developers to be paid upfront. That will encourage research and innovation.
  • The PASTEUR Act would distribute grants to hospitals to support their efforts to judiciously use the antimicrobials we already have. Priority will be given to rural hospitals, critical access hospitals, and safety net hospitals—places where proper funding for antimicrobial stewardship programs is often hard to come by.
  • The PASTEUR Act would create a “Committee on Critical Need Antimicrobials,” consisting of doctors, patients, and subject matter experts, alongside representatives from federal agencies, to develop guidelines to help us all understand and curb AMR.

Find out more about the PASTEUR Act here.

Learn More By Clicking Below

Antimicrobial Resistance
Information Guide
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United States Perception of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
Survey Results
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Global Perception of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
Survey Results
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Antimicrobial Resistance
Infographic
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Bug Says Finish Your Medicine
Infographic
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Read Personal Stories of AMR

Barbie Nesser

Hi my name is Barbie and I am 62 years old. It was June of 2020 when I had my 4th UTI in 6 months. (Sepsis and Urinary Tract Infections) I was prescribed Macrobid on June 10th. By Friday I was experiencing back pain. It was late in the day, but I decided to call my primary doctor. Luckily my doctor called me back. She asked if we could FaceTime. My doctor thought I did not look very well and I also developed a stye in my eye and I never had them before. It was evident that I was …

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Kimberly Brown

My story started in 2017, I was recently married in Punta Cana and just returned from our first family vacation in Florida. Upon returning, I woke up with a swollen lip that I thought was a sun blister that I had picked at the night before. I went to the ER and was sent home with Bactrim and Keflex being treated for a skin infection. I had broke out with a sulphur rash on my 8th day of treatment and was advised to discontinue the meds. At this time the infection had appeared to have healed on the outside but …

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Annette S.

In August 2017, I went for small intestine/ colon surgery and liver resection to remove cancerous tumors. I was a few days post op and doing well. Then I started having shooting pains in the liver area that oral pain med didn’t touch, and then I developed heart rhythm abnormality, atrial fibrillation, which I’d never had before. (Sepsis and Surgery) Being a nurse, I noticed it on the monitor and pointed it out to doctors and nurses. They gave me IV medicine, which eventually did put my heart in rhythm. But I was still having severe pain. The doctors were …

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Rebecca Brindle

Back in January of 2016, I was working third shift as a registered nurse for a nursing home. I had just finished my shift when two first shift nurses came to me and told me I didn’t look well, and they suggested I rest for awhile in one of the spare beds before driving home. I was extra tired so I went and laid down. One of the nurses came back to wake me up later on, but I still felt really tired so I told her I would rest a bit more. I slept until it was time to …

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Mary Lansing

This story is about my mother Mary. She was a healthy dialysis patient. (Sepsis and Invasive Devices) She didn’t want to get an infection so she agreed to have a graft put under her skin which was safer than having a dialysis catheter. She always was careful to follow the doctor’s advice. One night after dialysis, she got up from bed to go to the bathroom. And got dizzy and fell and broke her ankle in many places. When she got to the emergency room, she was found to be septic and that was what caused her to fall. Not …

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Looking for more information about sepsis, antimicrobial resistance, and Sepsis Alliance? Find some resources below:

 

 

Funding for this campaign was provided by an independent medical research grant from Pfizer.