Research for infection protection

Abstract: Post-antibiotic era – already a reality in German clinics?

The discovery and introduction of antimicrobial substances is considered one of the most important medical successes of the twentieth century, and without a doubt it has revolutionised the treatment of infectious diseases. However, due to the common – proper, wrong and abusive – use of these substances, immediately after the introduction of these drugs, resistances started to rapidly develop and spread and have become a major, worldwide problem.

The antimicrobial resistance’s reservoir lies dormant in the microbiome of the environment; resistances of clinically relevant pathogens stem from the resistance genes of common environmental bacteria. When looking at the development of resistances, there have been too few new antibiotics, which makes the “post-antibiotic era” a dangerous reality and a serious threat to public health care.

Also in German clinics, people are meanwhile aware if this risk – there is virtually no healthcare facility that does not see itself confronted with multiresistance. This situation urgently calls for effective countermeasures that not only limit the prophylactic and therapeutic use of antibiotics to a reasonable measure, but also improve infection control. In many countries, there are intensive efforts to develop suitable strategies to combat resistance.

In Germany, the Federal Government has addressed the problem with the German Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy (DART 2020). Main objective is to better understand the development of resistances and develop multidisciplinary strategies to effectively fight the problem of resistances. Here, a sustainable success very much depends on education and training of all concerned occupational groups in the fields of human medicine, veterinary medicine and pharmaceutics, but also of consumers (patients).

“Post-antibiotic era – already a reality in German clinics?” Speech by Prof. Dr. Uwe Frank, Institute of Environmental Medicine and Hospital Hygiene, University Medical Centre Freiburg, Germany held at the Lunchtime Symposium “Pathogens resistant to antibiotics: new hygiene strategies along the patient journey”, 17 November 2016, Berlin, arranged by the BODE SCIENCE CENTER, Hamburg, scientific centre of excellence of PAUL HARTMANN AG, Heidenheim.