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A week has passed since World Health Day launched a year-long focus on antimicrobial resistance as a global health issue.  As a result of WHD 2011 activities, considerable attention has been brought to the issue of antibiotic resistance, in particular—both to the need for new antibiotics to treat resistant infections and to the need to implement antibiotic stewardship practices.  When it comes to stewardship, we’ve seen an echoing of the message at the heart of CDDEP’s Extending the Cure’s project—that antibiotics should be viewed as natural resources, much like fish or forests, that benefit from conservation practices.  Antibiotic effectiveness is a public good that suffers from a “tragedy of the commons” phenomenon, in that consumers and clinicians have little short-term incentive to care about the long-term consequences of antibiotic misuse.  Check out this article from the Guardian, as well as this paper from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, which take up this theme.

World Health Day 2011 also coincided with the Lancet’s release of a study finding NDM-1 in water samples from New Delhi.  NDM-1 is the resistance-coding gene that made big waves in medical news last summer when it was discovered in UK patients returning from India and Pakistan after cosmetic surgery. How concerned should we be with the reports of NDM-1 in water in New Delhi? CDDEP director and senior fellow Ramanan Laxminarayan was called upon to offer some perspective on the Lancet study– watch here and here

And lest we forget that last week was also public health awareness week, Extending the Cure’s ResistanceMap was featured in a Grants Watch blog post surveying foundation giving in the public health arena.  See ResistanceMap’s new map series tracking the emergence of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae—bacteria that is resistant to the most potent antibiotics in the current arsenal.

Image credit: Flickr: johndierckx