Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antibiotic resistance (ABR) are two intertwined but distinct concepts that are caused by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs. AMR is a broader term that encompasses resistance to all forms of antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, and antiparasitics. ABR, on the other hand, specifically refers to the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, the most commonly prescribed and widely used form of antimicrobial treatment.
The emergence and spread of both AMR and ABR are considered critical public health crises as they pose significant challenges to the treatment of bacterial infections and increase the risk of morbidity and mortality. To better understand the difference between these two types of resistance, let us examine some of the examples of AMR and ABR.
Antimicrobial resistance examples:
1. Antifungal resistance- Candida auris
2. Antiviral resistance – Influenza virus
3. Antiparasitic resistance – Malaria
4. Antihelminthic resistance – Roundworms
5. Antibiotic resistance – Staphylococcus aureus
Antibiotic resistance examples:
1. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
2. Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
3. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
4. Fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli)
5. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
The examples of both types of resistance demonstrate the significant and diverse impacts of drug resistance on infectious disease control and the challenges that clinicians and public health experts face in managing and treating bacterial infections. The increased prevalence of drug resistance is primarily due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in clinical and animal health settings, as well as the limited innovation and development of new forms of antibiotics and antimicrobials.
To address these challenges and reduce the risks of drug resistance, it is essential to use antibiotics and other antimicrobials judiciously, implement effective infection prevention and control measures, and invest in innovation and research to develop new forms of antimicrobial treatments. By doing so, we can slow down the spread of AMR and ABR, protect public health, and ensure the long-term effectiveness of antibiotics and other critical antimicrobial drugs.