20 November 2023
News: The HIS Journals present work from experts and key stakeholders in IPC for World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week
To mark the World Health Organization’s World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week (WAAW), the official HIS journals present key work from around the world on all elements of antimicrobial resistance and stewardship.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial agents. As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents become ineffective and infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

WAAW is a global campaign to raise awareness and understanding of AMR and promote best practices to reduce the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections. WAAW is celebrated from 18-24 November every year.

The overlooked challenges of antimicrobial stewardship

Infection Prevention in Practice (IPIP) has invited experts and key stakeholders within the fields of infection prevention and control (IPC) and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) to give their view on some of the ongoing challenges we face in the race against AMR. IPIP is focusing on what the editors perceive to be some of the lesser-considered barriers to optimising antimicrobial use and solutions and tools available to help overcome them.

Elaine Cloutman-Green and colleagues define AMR as a ‘super wicked problem’ and acknowledge the role of engaging with patients and the public within a One Health solution – linking to the World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week 2023 theme of ‘Preventing antimicrobial resistance together’.

Nour Shamas and colleagues have focused on the global perspective, highlighting challenges of implementing AMS tools in low- and middle-income countries. Authors emphasise that a ‘lift and shift’ approach to AMS tools across international healthcare settings is ineffective and there is a requirement for ‘country-specific, realistic, practical and effective tools’.

Finally, Rashmeet Bhogal and colleagues examine the impact of spurious penicillin allergy on AMS in BAME patient groups, the barriers to best practice and strategies to overcome these.

All papers in the IPIP collection are open access – freely available for all to download now.

Key research in the fight against AMR

The Journal of Hospital Infection (JHI) presents a Special Issue of new research and data from authors worldwide, underpinning our understanding of the mechanisms behind AMR and the IPC solutions to fight this threat to global health.

Hospital wastewater systems are hotspots for antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) and play a significant role in their emergence and spread. Johar et al. used a microbial DNA quantitative polymerase chain reaction to determine bacterial diversity and ARGs in wastewater samples, finding 27 different bacterial species: high pathogen levels and the emergence of contaminants such as ARGs in sewage water poses a potential risk to public health.

Touch-surfaces within hospitals also harbour threatening microbes. Watson et al. evaluated biofilm models cultured under artificial human sweat (AHS) – to replicating the source of nutrients for bacteria on surfaces – to assess the antimicrobial performance of common cleaning agents. They highlight potential pitfalls within current antimicrobial test standards.

Continuing on the theme of the healthcare environment as vital AMS battleground, Kidneya et al. present a short report inspecting virulence genes and plasmid replicon profiles of selected β-lactamase-producing Acinetobacter baumannii, suggesting that admitted orthopaedic patients and hospital environments act as reservoirs of multiple β-lactamase-producing A. baumannii and highlighting the necessity of strong screening of patients and IPC measures to reduce the dissemination of A. baumannii.

Pharmacists are on the front lines of AMS, and Gray et al. present a qualitative analysis of healthcare provider perspectives to evaluating beta-lactam allergies, concluding that health systems should adopt and disseminate policies for the evaluation of beta-lactam allergies, and promote the use of pharmacists in the evaluation of drug allergies when possible.

All papers in the issue are published in the November edition of the JHI, and can be found on our publisher, Elsevier’s, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week collection page.

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