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Mayo Clin Proc. 2019 Jun;94(6):1040-1047. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.11.005. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

The Slow-Motion Catastrophe of Antimicrobial Resistance and Practical Interventions for All Prescribers.

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Infectious Diseases Unit, Rochester Regional Health, Rochester, NY. Electronic address:
Infectious Diseases Unit, Rochester Regional Health, Rochester, NY.


All medical and surgical specialties depend on the pool of effective antibiotics that continues to evaporate because of the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial-resistant infections kill 700,000 patients every year. By 2050, they are projected to cause 10 million deaths per year at a cumulative global cost of $100 trillion. Professional societies and international health agencies, including the United Nations, have declared escalating antimicrobial resistance as one of the gravest and most urgent threats to global public health and issued calls for action. The propensity of bacteria to mobilize and share genetic resistance determinants across species and genera, record levels of conflict-driven human population displacement, and the dearth of new antibiotics and rapid diagnostic tests, along with climate change and the epidemic of opioid addiction, exacerbate the antimicrobial resistance crisis. The predominant cause of antibiotic resistance is exposure to antibiotics through appropriate and inappropriate use. Mindfulness, nudging by peers, and adjuncts and alternatives to antibiotics, such as phage therapies, microbiome-based therapies, and novel medical informatics applications, could help reduce antibiotic use. This article describes the antimicrobial resistance crisis and highlights points in the continuum of care in which clinicians can readily implement practical, no-cost changes to minimize antibiotic exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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