This thematic issue from Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control features an overview and summary of the presented posters (including a link to the forum website with PDFs of the posters), a selection of the excellent presentations of the World HAI Forum as full articles and, last but not least, The Pensieres Antibiotic Resistance Call to Action: Ready for a world without antibiotics?
In June 2011, over 70 international experts in medicine, infectious diseases, microbiology and epidemiology gathered at the Fondation Mérieux's Conference Center in Annecy (France) for the third edition of the World HAI Forum on healthcare-associated infections. Forum participants called upon national and international health authorities, policymakers, the medical and veterinary communities, industry, and the general public to take action to avoid an impending public health catastrophe caused by the emergence and spread of bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. While research to discover novel antibiotics has slowed to a virtual standstill, bacterial resistance has increased due to the massive use and misuse of antibiotics, not only for human health, but also for animals. The treatment of certain common infections is becoming difficult and the success of immunosuppressive therapies and surgical interventions (organ transplants, cardiac surgery), which are associated with a high risk of bacterial infection, could be compromised.
To the Forum experts, the emergence of pan-resistant NDM-1 bacteria and epidemic of multidrug-resistant E. coli infections currently in Europe should be taken as a major public health warning, indicating that a new era of antimicrobial resistance has begun. This must lead to a global awakening: the protection of antibiotics has now entered the sphere of sustainable development. In a continuation of calls to action and proposals made by major national and international organizations (WHO, ECDC, IDSA, CDC, etc.), the Forum's participants identified priority action areas to fight bacterial resistance and recommended 12 concrete actions to be implemented, in the short to mid-term, to effectively address this serious problem.
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