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Control of antimicrobial resistance: time for action

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 05 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:613

The essentials of control are already well known

  1. Pentti Huovinen, Chief physician,
  2. Otto Cars, Head
  1. Antimicrobial Research Laboratory, National Public Health Institute, 20520 Turku, Finland
  2. Department of Infectious Diseases, Uppsala University Hospital, 75185 Uppsala, Sweden

    Until recently the medical community world wide has seemed incapable of reacting to the imminent crisis of antibiotic resistance. Several explanations exist for this lack of action, including the complex interaction between doctors, patients, and parents over antibiotic use 1 2 and the fact that the pharmaceutical industry has so far succeeded in developing new antibiotics when resistance to existing ones has emerged. Although we still need a better understanding of the factors involved in the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, action cannot wait until all the answers are available. The essentials of better control of antibiotic resistance are already well known.

    Surveillance of bacterial resistance is a key element in understanding the size of the problem. The large number of existing networks for resistance surveillance need to be coordinated and the …

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