Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Rise in England

Priscilla Lynch 

November 20, 2020

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) remains a serious threat to the health of people in England, with an estimated 178 AMR infections diagnosed each day, according to a new Public Health England (PHE) report.

The 2019/2020 English surveillance programme for antimicrobial utilisation and resistance (ESPAUR) report shows there were an estimated 65,162 AMR infections diagnosed in 2019, up from 61,946 in 2018.

The continuing rise in AMR bloodstream infections is a significant concern, rising by 32 per cent since 2015 – with AMR linked to one in five people with a key bacterial bloodstream infection. AMR bloodstream infections have increased from 13,671 in 2015 to over 18,000 in this year’s report.

The incidence of bloodstream infection in key species has increased 17 per cent between 2015 and 2019. This change is primarily driven by the gram-negative bacterial species Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae and the gram-positive bacterial genera Enterococcus spp.

The new report also shows that antibiotic consumption continues to fall year-on-year, since the peak in 2014. In 2019, total consumption fell to 17.9 defined daily doses per 1000 people per day, compared with 19.4 in 2015.

This is driven by a continued decrease in general practices, where most antibiotics continue to be prescribed, as well as in the dental sector, said PHE. GPs have been supported to reduce their prescribing through antimicrobial stewardship interventions and NHS improvement schemes.

Hospitals and other community settings have seen increases in antibiotic prescribing. This is because bloodstream infections are rising and are generally treated in these settings, PHE noted.

The ESPAUR report was published at the start of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) 2020, 18-24 November. WAAW aims to increase awareness of global AMR and to encourage best practice among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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