Source: The Royal Australasian College of Physicians,
21 September 2016
New Zealand can no longer rely on its geographic isolation to
prevent the impacts of increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance
(AMR) globally, according to The Royal Australasian College of
Physicians (the RACP).
As people travel nationally and internationally with greater
frequency, visiting multiple countries and staying in countries for
extended periods of time, drug-resistant strains of different
pathogens will be introduced into New Zealand at an increasing
AMR develops when infection-causing organisms survive exposure
to medicines (such as antibiotics) that would eradicate or inhibit
its growth, allowing it to spread.
The RACP argues the evidence for action is clear, with urgency
required to prevent and reverse AMR trends in New Zealand.
"Increasing use and misuse of antimicrobials is out of control."
Dr Jonathan Christiansen, the RACP New Zealand President, said.
"Infection controls, prescribing guidelines and research to
develop new antimicrobials are required to treat a growing number
of infections that are resistant to antibiotics."
Common infections are becoming resistant to all available
medicines and there are delays in new antimicrobials being
discovered. Three common pathogens of concern are showing increased
resistance to antibiotics, posing a major risk to the health of New
Zealanders: Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacteriaceae (including E.
coli and K. pneumoniae), and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
With significant public health implications, particularly for
disease control and treatment, increasing AMR has the potential to
undermine the viability of interventions such as common surgical
procedures, organ transplantation, chemotherapy and neonatal care.
Antibiotics can no longer be considered the 'magic bullet'.
According to the World Health Organization, without urgent
action many of the medical breakthroughs of the last century could
be lost through the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Global
leaders will meet at the United Nations General Assembly on 21
September to discuss the seriousness of the situation and agree
comprehensive, multi sector approaches to fighting AMR
The RACP recommends New Zealand develops a comprehensive,
financed national response to AMR. International best practice AMR
programs include antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) building on
evidence, policy, organisational support, multidisciplinary teams,
and patient experience.
"A centrally driven, nationwide AMR programme is essential for
New Zealand to achieve a collaborative, whole of sector response to
the most significant global health issue of the 21st century." said
"The Ministry of Health AMR Action Plan, due out in May 2017, is
an important step forward in containing and controlling AMR in New