Public Health England has published Health matters: preventing infections and reducing antimicrobial resistance, a professional resource that outlines the importance of infection prevention and control and how it can help reduce antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the process by which organisms become resistant to antimicrobial treatments that target them, is a serious threat to modern medicine. It is thought that a failure to address AMR could result in:

  • an estimated 10 million annual deaths globally by 2050
  • a cost of £66 trillion in lost productivity to the global economy.

Total consumption of antibiotics in England has declined by 5.1% over the past five years. However, the number of infections caused by antibiotic resistance continue to increase, highlighting the need to improve prevention methods and efforts to avoid unnecessary prescribing.

Aiming to inform healthcare professionals about the state of AMR, the inherent difficulties in avoiding AMR, and how they can contribute further, this edition of Health matters covers:

  • the scale of the problem, including the most common types of resistant infections and targets for Gram-negative bloodstream infection rates in the future
  • infection prevention using the chain of infection model, providing a description of the six recognised ‘links’ in the chain of infection:
    • the infectious agent
    • the infection reservoir
    • the portal of exit for the infectious agent
    • the mode of transmission
    • the portal of entry to a new host
    • the susceptible host.
  • calls to action, including for the whole healthcare system and for specific groups (e.g. primary and secondary care healthcare professionals)
  • resources to support the campaign against AMR, including case studies and infographics.