Oct. 9, 2000 Washington D.C., October 6, 2000 --Antimicrobial agents are used for everything from fighting disease to protecting crops to producing food animals, and not enough is understood about the impact of resistance on the environment as a whole. A new report from the American Academy of Microbiology, "Antimicrobial Resistance: An Ecological Perspective," takes a broad view of the problem of increasing resistance to antimicrobials and its consequences for human, animal, and environmental health.
Resistance is a natural result of the ability of bacterial cells to adapt. Over-use and misuse of antimicrobials and the widespread use of disinfectants in household products may speed the process, but over time, even the careful use of antimicrobial agents will lead to resistant bacteria. As existing antimicrobial agents decline in effectiveness, infections will be more difficult and expensive to treat. Epidemics will become harder to control, and water, animals, and crops will be affected.
"Antimicrobial Resistance: An Ecological Perspective," provides an overview of the current situation and offers specific recommendations for future scientific research, surveillance programs, and education efforts. The document presents the conclusions of a panel of 30 scientists that spent several days deliberating the issues. The meeting brought together researchers in the environmental and agricultural sciences, infectious disease specialists, pharmaceutical industry representatives, and public health officials to take an inclusive view of problems and offer solutions. The report is available on-line, and can be downloaded free of charge from the American Academy of Microbiology. Just visit: http://www.asmusa.org/acasrc/aca1.htm
The American Academy of Microbiology is an honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) whose mission is to foster and recognize scientific excellence in the microbiological sciences. Its programs include convening critical issues colloquia and developing consensus-building position papers that provide expert scientific opinion and advice on current and emerging issues in microbiology.
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