The WHO reports that surveillance programs for the use of drugs to treat HIV and malaria have prevented microbial resistance to the medicines used to treat the two deadly infections.
Antibiotic resistance continues to be a global problem, affecting more than 500,000 people with possible bacterial infections across 22 reporting countries, the World Health Organization said.
The first GLASS report found that, worldwide, the most resistant bacteria were Escherichia coli, (E. coli), Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, followed by a strain of Salmonella.
Common bacteria responsible for diseases such as E. coli and pneumonia are becoming increasingly hard to treat on a global level due to overuse of antibiotics, according to new data in a report released on Monday by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
"The report confirms the serious situation of antibiotic resistance worldwide", said Dr Marc Sprenger, director of the WHO's Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat.
The world's first major report on antibiotic resistance has shown many common infections are becoming resistant to drugs. "And most worrying of all, pathogens don't respect national borders", he added.
So far 25 high-income, 20 middle-income and 7 low-income countries are taking part in the WHO's surveillance system.
"Surveillance is in its infancy, but it is vital to develop it if we are to anticipate and tackle one of the biggest threats to global public health", explained Dr. Carmem Pessoa-Silva, WHO surveillance system coordinator. The quality and completeness of data in this first GLASS report vary widely.
To combat this public health tendency the agency has created the Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System to create reliable and meaningful data at the worldwide level. GLASS is helping to standardize the way that countries collect data and enable a more complete picture about antimicrobial resistance patterns and trends. GLASS is expected to perform a similar function for common bacterial pathogens.
The WHO says GLASS is supporting countries in their efforts to build national laboratory capacity and is prioritizing technical assistance in low-income countries through a range of activities.
Kenya has developed and approved the National Policy and Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance and is building its national surveillance system. In South Korea, almost of 75% of Acinetobacter isolates found in blood were resistant to the carbapenem antibiotics imipenem and meropenem.
The WHO suspects that resistance comes from overuse and overdiagnosis.
GLASS will eventually incorporate information from other surveillance systems related to antimicrobial resistance in humans, such as in the food chain, monitoring of antimicrobial consumption, targeted surveillance projects, and other related data. For example, TB drug resistance surveillance has been implemented in 188 countries over the past 24 years. Countries are encouraged to implement the surveillance standards and indicators gradually, based on their national priorities and available resources.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's Director-General, has underscored his aim to make antimicrobial resistance one of WHO's top priorities by bringing together experts working on this issue under a newly created strategic initiatives cluster.