How High is the Threat of Colistin-resistant Superbugs in Western Countries?

Andrea Endimiani, MD, PhD, professor at the Institute for Infectious Diseases at the University of Bern, Switzerland, discusses how antibiotic stewardship can reduce the risk of antimicrobial-resistant superbugs.

Andrea Endimiani, MD, PhD, professor at the Institute for Infectious Diseases at the University of Bern, Switzerland, discusses how antibiotic stewardship can reduce the risk of antimicrobial-resistant superbugs.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Western countries, for sure, [have] less risk than other countries for the spread of superbugs in general. First of all, to [get] antibiotics [in these countries], you need a prescription. There are some countries where you don’t need a prescription, you can go to the pharmacy and buy whatever you want. So, [in these] countries among the population [there are] a lot of [uncontrolled] antibiotics. [In] western countries, [not so much, because] we need prescription. In hospital we have the pharmacy, we have control [over] the use of antibiotics, we use antibiotic stewardship, so we use antibiotics [properly] to prevent the development of resistance.

I see less risk [in western countires], but less risk does not mean that in [the] future [some western countries wont] face the spread of bugs that are colistin-resistant [like carbapenemase, or extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs)] because the mechanism of resistance, the plasmid, is a very powerful mechanism that should be put under control, otherwise [it] can explode.”