Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is increasing. That is, the number of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics is raising, making AMR a serious public health concern in Canada and around the world.
AMR is now ranked one of the top 10 global public health threats by the World Health Organization.
As there are few new antimicrobials being created, AMR means that treatable illnesses, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, or minor infections could become incurable.
How prevalent is AMR in Canada?
In 2018, 5,400 people died as a direct result of AMR in Canada (CCA 2019).
Experts say that if we continue to overuse antibiotics as we are, the rate of resistance is likely to grow to 40% by 2050, with annual deaths upwards of 13,700 (CCA 2019).
Check out ‘When Antibiotics Fail’ The Expert Panel on the Socio-Economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada (PDF, 2019), to learn about how drug resistance affects the lives of Canadians.
So, what can you do?
You can help combat antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance by becoming informed about appropriate antibiotic use.
One of the most important drivers of antimicrobial resistance is the overuse of antibiotics. For instance, colds, coughs or sore throats could be treated with fluids and rest, ask your health-care provider what may work best for you.
Also, when you visit your health-care provider, three questions you can ask are: ‘Do I really need antibiotics?’ ‘What are the risks of antibiotic use?’ ‘Are there simpler, safer options to antibiotics?’