Deaths from acute respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, measles, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis account for more than 85% of the mortality from infections worldwide.
WHO Global Strategy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance, 2001
About two-thirds of all oral antibiotics worldwide are obtained without a prescription and are inappropriately used against diseases such as TB, malaria, pneumonia and more routine child infections.*
( *The Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications
for the United States - NIE 99-17D, January 2000 -
John C. Gannon, Chairman, National Intelligence Council)
Data... reveal that in 1999 in Canada about 25 million prescriptions for oral antibiotics were dispensed and that, after cardiovascular and psychotherapeutic drugs, antibiotics were the third most commonly prescribed [type of medication].
The prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was less than 5% in most hospitals worldwide in the early 1970s but a decade later had increased to as much as 40% in many hospitals in the United States and Europe. Of all the MRSA reports (in Canada), 70% were from central Canada, 26% from western Canada and 4% from eastern Canada. Most of the increase was in Ontario and British Columbia.
The prevalence of S. pneumoniae with reduced susceptibility to penicillin varies markedly throughout the world, with up to 70% resistance in Korea and 40% resistance in the United States. The proportion.in Canada, from less than 2% in the late 1980s to 12.3% in 2000.
The current overall medical costs of antibiotic resistance to the Canadian health care system, predominantly the institutions, may be as much as $200 million per year.
It has been estimated that 30%-40% of endemic institutional antibiotic resistance is caused by the unwashed hands of hospital personnel.
A 2002 consumer survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid shows that the number of Canadians who understand the issue of antibiotic resistance and its implications continues to increase. Fifty-three per cent of Canadians said they had been prescribed an oral antibiotic in the past three years. This is down from 61 per cent in a similar survey conducted by NIPA in 2000.
Consumer survey conducted for NIPA by Ipsos-Reid
In 1995, the incidence of vancomycin-resistant entercoccus (VRE), which causes wound and urinary-tract infections, was seen in only two hospitals. Last year, 110 hospitals across the country had reported outbreaks.
The Toronto Star, August 3, 2002, Section A, Pg. 1
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 2 billion people, one-third of the world's population, has TB. The crisis has intensified because of multi-drug resistant microbes.