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7 Facts About Antibiotic Resistance (infographic)


[This entry has been written by Jordi Vila and Ignasi Roca]

The discovery of antibiotics and their application in the treatment of infectious diseases at the end of the nineteenth century is seen as one of the most important breakthroughs in the history of biomedicine. The advent of antibiotics was also a key factor in the subsequent unprecedented increase in life expectancy in developed countries. However, the introduction of antimicrobial agents into our society also marked the start of a parallel process which is increasingly growing in significance: the emergence of microorganisms that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs. This growing antimicrobial resistance now represents a serious threat to the medical advances achieved over the last 130 years after long and arduous battles against bacterial pathogens.

The following infographic illustrates 7 vital facts concerning antibiotic resistance:


1) Antibiotic resistance can be defined as the ability of microorganisms to grow in the presence of the medicines used to treat them.

2) In the European Union alone, infections caused by only a subset of all multi-drug resistant bacteria are responsible for around 25,000 deaths per year.

3) The misuse and abuse of antibiotics within community and hospital settings has led to the development of antibiotic resistance.

4) The use of antibiotics in the veterinary industry to fatten livestock is also a major cause of drug resistance ultimately affecting the human population.

5) Many infectious diseases are increasingly difficult to treat because of antimicrobial-resistant organisms.

6) Less than 5% of drugs currently in the pipeline are antimicrobial agents. More efforts are required to develop new antibiotics.

7) Antibiotic resistance is a pandemic that can only be addressed through joint efforts by all stakeholders involved.