Trying to find antimicrobial resistance data for different countries can be frustrating. With a couple of clicks on a mouse I should be able to find the ESBL or MRSA rate for a particular country, and whether this rate is going up or down.
But I can’t…
To make real impact on susceptibility rates on a global basis, we need global surveillance, to know what the baseline resistance rates are in each country. We also need antimicrobial consumption rates that are comparable across countries.
Unfortunately this is just not happening at present. “SENTRY” made a decent effort and got some good data out, but for whatever reason (probably money) it seems to have downsized recently, not expanded (correct me if I’m wrong).
Europe has a good surveillance system (EARSS), but it is only Europe.
I know anecdotally that ESBL rates in some parts of Asia are extremely high but there is very little information out there on exactly how high.
There needs to be real political will with the necessary funding to acheive this goal. Unfortunately trying to acheive global co-operation in anything is incredibly difficult.
It is one thing to make impassioned appeals regarding the potential threat of antimicrobial resistance. (Click here for such an appeal by Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical officer of England.) However such appeals need to be backed up by cold hard objective evidence to have real impact.
The problem is compunded further by the fact that we have different international standards for measuring antimicrobial resistance. If the two main bodies, CLSI and EUCAST could put aside their differences and combine to form a global committee (GCAST…), it would go a long way to making the dream of global antimicrobial resistance surveillance a reality.
I think a (genuinely) Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance programme will get underway at some point during my working career. If it does, it will be long overdue…