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Boston Globe publishes APUA's Letter to the Editor

Alarms sounded over resistance to antibiotics

The Boston Globe
Matters of Health
October 14, 2010

RESISTANCE TO antibiotics is an enormous worldwide problem. Almost all bacteria will become resistant to today’s drugs because of inherent evolutionary bacterial processes as well as misuse of antibiotics and human behavior. The need to act now is highlighted by two recent developments reported in the Globe Oct. 7 (“Deadly bacteria’s foothold spurs study,’’ Page A1, and “Staph infection traps lobstermen,’’ Metro).

The increasing occurrence of deadly infections in hospitals as a result of the antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae has led the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to launch a statewide study to survey hospitals to gauge the incidence of the bacteria. In addition, the community-acquired, antibiotic-resistant methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus has spread to lobstermen on Maine’s Vinalhaven Island, causing persistent skin infections that require repeated treatments.

This month, our group offered the Obama-created Transatlantic Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance suggestions for achievable critical activities to be implemented in the next 12 months. These are the creation of effective surveillance systems to monitor antibiotic use and resistance (such as the initiative by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health), the promotion of infection control programs, the funding of research and development of incentives to preserve the power of existing antibiotics and to create new products, and the designation of antibiotics as a special class of drugs for regulatory purposes.

Dr. Stuart B. Levy, President
Kathleen T. Young, Executive director
The Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics
Dr. Levy is also a professor at Tufts Medical School.
© Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company
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