Can the International Health Regulations apply to antimicrobial resistance?

Apr 19, 2011

In this week's PLoS Medicine, Stephan Harbarth from the University of Geneva, Switzerland and colleagues argue that the International Health Regulations (IHR) should be applied to the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance. They say that certain events marking the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, especially those involving new pan-resistant strains for which there are no suitable treatments, may constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and are notifiable to WHO under the IHR notification requirement.

In an accompanying Perspective article, Adam Kamradt-Scott from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom (uninvolved in the work) disagrees with the Harbarth proposal and argues that the IHR were never intended to tackle all disease threats and that applying it to would be impossible to implement.

The International Health Regulations (IHR) is a legally binding agreement between 194 States Parties, whose aim is to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease. These global rules are intended to enhance national, regional and global public health security.

Explore further: Disease-carrying fleas abound on New York City's rats

More information: Wernli D, Haustein T, Conly J, Carmeli Y, Kickbusch I, et al. (2011) A Call for Action: The Application of the International Health Regulations to the Global Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance. PLoS Med 8(4): e1001022. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001022

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

WHO calls for monitoring of new superbug

Aug 20, 2010

The World Health Organisation on Friday called on health authorities around the globe to monitor a multi-drug resistant superbug that surfaced in South Asia and spread to Britain.

MRSA eliminated by copper in live global broadcast

Apr 04, 2011

A live broadcast from the University of Southampton today (4 April 2011) highlighted the effectiveness of antimicrobial copper in preventing the spread of antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as MRSA, in hospitals.

Paradigm shift needed to combat drug resistance

Oct 15, 2009

When people travel, bacteria and other infectious agents travel with them. As about a billion people cross international borders each year, many more billions of the bugs come along for the ride.

A world without antibiotics?

Apr 07, 2011

Imagine a world without antibiotics. Common infections are life threatening. Pneumonia, urinary tract infections and venereal diseases are incurable. Cancer chemotherapies do not exist. The life expectancy for Canadian men ...

Recommended for you

Global Ebola conference seeks end to W.Africa outbreak

1 hour ago

Leaders of Ebola-hit countries in west Africa will attend an international conference in Brussels Tuesday to mobilise a final push to end the outbreak and ensure the delivery of nearly $5 billion in aid pledges.

High prevalence of HCV in baby boomers presenting to ER

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The prevalence of unrecognized chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) is high among baby boomers presenting to the emergency department, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in Hepatology.

The hidden burden of dengue fever in West Africa

11 hours ago

Misdiagnosis of febrile illnesses as malaria is a continuing problem in Africa. A new study shows that in Ghana, dengue fever is circulating in urban areas and going undiagnosed. The authors of the study hope to use the findings ...

Teenager with stroke symptoms actually had Lyme disease

11 hours ago

A Swiss teenager, recently returned home from a discotheque, came to the emergency department with classic sudden symptoms of stroke, only to be diagnosed with Lyme disease. The highly unusual case presentation was published ...

Understanding lung disease in aboriginal Australians

12 hours ago

A new study has confirmed that Aboriginal Australians have low forced vital capacity—or the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs after taking the deepest breath possible. The finding may account for ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.