Presentation by Professor Monica M Lahra

Monica gave a fascinating and thorough summary of global concerns relating to anti microbial resistance [AMR]. Resistance is predicted to be a big problem by 2050, and is considered to threaten health and health care provision.

AMR is essentially a problem of overuse. Bacteria which come into contact with antibiotics, but are not killed have various means of developing resistance. Resistant organisms are now global and endemic in some countries. Some organisms have become resistant to last line antibiotics. AMR presents a threat to medical procedures and treatment, including chemotherapy, complex surgery and transplants.

Factors leading to resistance include:

Peak global health organisations see AMR as a real threat as evidenced by a 2016 UN high level meeting on the subject and subsequent global planning to stem resistance. WHO have released a list of priority organisms and these have been categorised according to their threat level as urgent, serious, or concerning.

Responses required for tackling the problem include:

Monica argued that now was not a time for complacency. We need to be careful about how we use this precious commodity. We need a workable road map of what to do, and commitment from business, which is likely to require strong governmental policy. 

At a clinic level, it raised questions for me about the wisdom of contact treatment where risk is low, and the contact indicates their willingness and ability to abstain from sex until results are received. We currently advise contact treatment, so is it too controversial to wait?

It also raises questions about any rollout of antibiotic prophylaxis for high risk groups

The presentation was a confident and engaging call to action.

On the throw away line regarding the risks of global dining, a friend who I informed about the presentation commented “deliciously infected by an Italian Gelato”.