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Antibiotic Resistance Rate Among Humans in Abu Dhabi Increasing to Concerning Levels

Preliminary findings from the Abu Dhabi Antibiotic Resistance Surveillance Report 2011(), to be published within the next few months, say that overall the development of antibiotic resistance among human pathogens in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is a serious concern and that several relevant resistance rates have significantly increased to a concerning high level, compared to published local rates from previous years.

Data analysis on the AD ARS 2011 database is currently being conducted by an expert working group under the lead of the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi () and the findings will be discussed by Dr. Jens Thomsen, Section Head, Occupational and Environmental Health, Public Health & Policy Division, HAAD, at the 8th Middle East Healthcare-Associated Infections Conference which will take place on 14 – 15 October 2012 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center.

The Healthcare-Associated Infections Conference is part of the 6th Abu Dhabi Medical Congress () and has been designed to develop knowledge, skills and practice in infection prevention in order to implement best practice and ensure continuous progress towards the reduction of preventable HCAIs in the Arab world.

One of the main pillars of the HAAD strategy to combat the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance () is the now established AD ARS system which is a system that allows the continuous monitoring and surveillance of antimicrobial resistance data. This allows creating the evidence base, to establish baseline data, to monitor trends and to monitor the effectiveness of interventions designed to combat AMR development and spread. Of particular concern in the healthcare setting is the prevention and control of multi-drug resistant organisms such as e.g. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE), extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing E. coli and Klebsiella strains, multi-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and other organisms with relevant single or multiple resistances.

The first report of data resulting from this system will be published very soon and will be the first comprehensive regional antimicrobial resistance surveillance report in the and whole GCC region.

According to Dr. Thomsen: “The processes of how and why microorganisms become resistant to antimicrobials are quite well understood but complex and involve many factors. On a cell and molecular level, microorganisms have over time developed several mechanisms to combat antimicrobials, either by spontaneous mutation or by gene transfer from other microorganisms of the same or even other species. On a higher level, the inappropriate and irrational use of medicines provides favorable conditions for resistant microorganisms to emerge and spread. For example, when patients do not take the full course of a prescribed antimicrobial or when they do not take all components of a multi-drug combinatory therapy (e.g. as for TB), or when poor quality antimicrobials are used, resistant microorganisms can emerge through natural selection and spread.”

The direct economic and medical implications of increasing antibiotic resistance are tangible and very real for patients affected by AMR. “Patients infected with drug-resistant organisms are more likely to have longer and more expensive hospital stays, and may be more likely to die as a result of the infection. When the drug of choice for treating their infection doesn’t work, they require treatment with second- or third choice drugs that may be less effective, more toxic, and more expensive. This means that patients with an antimicrobial-resistant infection suffer more and pay more for treatment.”

Dr. Thomsen explains that the HAAD’s actual strategy to combat AMR is multifold and includes education and awareness programs for healthcare professionals (mostly physicians and pharmacists), patients and the general public on the correct prescription practices and use of antibiotics, enforced antibiotic-by-prescription only policies, promoting the judicious use of antibiotics through monitoring of antibiotic consumption and introduction of antibiotic stewardship programs. A long-term goal is the establishment of molecular detection and typing facilities in a reference laboratory.

The Abu Dhabi Medical Congress (ADMC) brings together leading international healthcare experts and companies to showcase the latest products and services within the Emergency, Primary Healthcare, Patient Safety, Rehabilitation, Nursing  and Dentistry sectors as well as being a platform for scientific exchange via the accompanying multi-track conference program dedicated to these healthcare area. ADMC is supported by UAE ministry of Health, Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and the Dubai Health Authority.

For more information about the Healthcare-Associated Infections Conference at ADMC 2012, please call +971 (0)4 4072 743 or visit

About Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions:

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About HAAD:

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For media enquiries please contact:

Inga Stevens

PR & Social Media Manager

Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions

T: +971 4 407 2743

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