A potential post-antibiotic era is threatening present and
future medical advances. The current worldwide increase in
resistant bacteria and, simultaneously, the downward trend in
the development of new antibiotics have serious health and
economic implications. Resistant bacteria dramatically reduce
the possibilities of treating infectious diseases eff ectively
and increase the risk of complications and fatal outcome for
patients with severe infections. Th e current rising trends in
antibiotic resistance suggest that the real problems are still
ahead of us.
Globally there is an extensive overuse of antibiotics, e.g.
use based on incorrect medical indications as well as misuse
by using the wrong agent, administration route, dose and
treatment duration. At the same time, there is a lack of access
to eff ective antibiotics in some developing countries where the
need for essential drugs is most immediate. In industrialized
countries, around 80-90% of antibiotic use for humans occurs
in the community and at least half of this is considered to
be based on incorrect indications, mostly viral infections.
Improved diagnostic tools to discriminate between viral and
bacterial infections and to rapidly detect resistance in clinical
samples would be important steps to reduce unnecessary
antibiotic use in viral infections and to limit the use of
broad-spectrum antibiotics. Development of new bacterial
vaccines may also be necessary to control the spread of
certain microorganisms between individuals and to reduce
the number of carriers of these pathogens.