The World Health Organization (WHO) defines antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial medicine to which it was originally sensitive. Resistant organisms (including bacteria, fungi, viruses and some parasites) are able to withstand antimicrobial medicines (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials) so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of spread to others. The development of AMR is a natural phenomenon but certain human actions accelerate the emergence and spread of AMR.
The scale of the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the case for action was set out in the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2011, published in March 2013. The Government’s UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018 sets out actions to address the problem of AMR.