Antibiotic resistance is an emerging threat to public health: an urgent call to action at the Antimicrobial Resistance Summit 2011

Thomas Gottlieb and Graeme R Nimmo
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2011.tb02973.x
Published online: 21 March 2011

A national interdisciplinary body is urgently needed to manage the looming antimicrobial resistance crisis

The introduction of antibiotics was one of the most important developments in modern medicine. Their availability has facilitated increasingly complex care and, not surprisingly, microbial resistance to antibiotics has been identified as one of the greatest threats to human health. A return to the “pre-antibiotic era” would render many routine infections untreatable and would seriously affect current practice in surgery, intensive care, organ transplantation, neonatology and cancer services through major increases in morbidity and mortality. The time to act is now — before we lose these “miracle” drugs for good.

  • 1 Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Concord Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Pathology Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 4 School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD.


Summit Organising Committee Members: Dr Craig S Boutlis (Infectious Diseases Physician, Wollongong), Dr Kirsty Buising (Infectious Diseases Physician, Melbourne), Associate Professor Allen C Cheng (Infectious Diseases Physician, Melbourne), Professor Keryn Christiansen (Clinical Microbiologist, Perth), Professor Peter Collignon (Infectious Diseases Physician and Microbiologist, Canberra), Mr Geoffrey Coombs (Principal Scientist, Perth), Dr Marilyn Cruickshank (Policy Manager, Sydney), Professor Bart J Currie (Infectious Diseases Physician, Darwin), Ms Margaret Duguid (Pharmacist, Sydney), Dr John Ferguson (Infectious Diseases Physician and Microbiologist, Newcastle), Dr Rodney Givney (Microbiologist, Newcastle), Dr Ken Harvey (Clinical Microbiologist, Melbourne), Dr David Looke (Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist, Brisbane), Dr Caroline Marshall (Infectious Diseases Physician, Melbourne), Dr Mary Murray (Global Network Coordinator, ReAct Action on Antibiotic Resistance, Wee Jasper), Professor David L Paterson (Infectious Diseases Physician and Microbiologist, Brisbane), Professor Michael Richards (Infectious Diseases Physician, Melbourne), Professor John Turnidge (Infectious Disease Physician and Microbiologist, Adelaide). We thank Anne Burridge for help in drafting the manuscript and Nadine Giatras, Elizabeth Bennett and Petrana Lorenz at the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine for Summit organisation.

Competing interests:

Thomas Gottlieb is President of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases. He has served on advisory boards for Novartis, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Janssen-Cilag. Graeme Nimmo is President of the Australian Society for Antimicrobials. He has served on advisory boards for Novartis and Pfizer, and has received lecture fees from bioMerieux and reimbursement for travel and accommodation from Novartis, Pfizer and bioMerieux.


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