Examining Canadians’ understanding of AMR

Survey reveals Canadians largely unaware of the threat of antimicrobial resistance
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms develop resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs. It can be caused by poor infection control in hospitals and clinics, the overprescribing of antibiotics, patients not finishing their treatment,  and lack of hygiene and poor sanitation.

Only 29 per cent of 1,539 Canadians surveyed by BD, a global medical technology company, consider themselves “somewhat” or “very” knowledgeable about AMR. The recent survey also revealed many Canadians share widespread misconceptions about the threat of drug resistance.

“Antibiotic resistance does not refer to a body’s resistance to antibiotics, but to the bacteria’s response to antibiotics,” clarified Dr. David Patrick, University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in a press release.

Respondents ranked AMR among conditions that were of least concern, furthermore the survey revealed misunderstandings about whether AMR is something Canadians should even be concerned about. Nearly half (44 %) of the respondents believed AMR to be more of a concern in developing countries.

“Antimicrobial resistance affects everyone, everywhere, and that includes Canada, where it is an increasingly serious concern, ” said Dr. Andrew Morris, Sinai Health System and University Health Network in a press release

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) infection prevention measures such as sanitation, hand washing, food, and water safety, can decrease the spread of microorganisms resistant to antimicrobial medicines.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) held November 12 – 18, aims to increase global awareness of AMR and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy-makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

BD is part of an initiative called the Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter campaign to highlight the roles and impact of health practitioners, professional associations, government leaders, non-government organizations, health agencies, advocacy groups and patients in combating AMR. Canadians interested in sharing their story or joining this campaign can visit: antimicrobialresistancefighters.org.

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