Taking antibiotics favours bacteria's resistance to them. Antibiotics are very useful medicines. To maintain their effectiveness, they have to be used correctly and only when necessary. Antibiotics are not effective against flu, bronchitis or colds. 

Infections linked to resistant bacteria 

Anyone can be a carrier of resistant bacteria and people in good health don't notice it.

But when resistant bacteria contaminate someone who is fragile, old or who has a weakened immune system, it can lead to an infection that will be difficult to treat.

Infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics can cause complications that lead to extended stays in hospital, more serious diseases and occasionally to death.

The doctor therefore has to prescribe stronger and more expensive antibiotics, generally necessitating more care, leading to severe secondary effects and against which the bacteria can in turn develop resistance.

DID YOU KNOW? Infections linked to resistant bacteria are particularly common in hospitals, establishments that concentrate different risk factors: a high consumption of antibiotics, which favours bacterial resistance; surgery and contacts that favour the transmission of bacteria (care provided in intensive care, in surgery, etc.); a high-concentration of people who are already ill and weak and more prone to infections.

Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria 

Multi-drug resistant bacteria are bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics, which reduces the choice of treatment. 

All bacteria can become multi-resistant, including those responsible for:

Multi-resistant bacteria may in time become resistant to all antibiotics leading to a therapeutic impasse: there is no longer any effective treatment.

Pre-antibiotic era

If bacteria become resistant to all existing antibiotics, organ grafts, chemotherapy for treating cancer, intensive care, renal dialysis, hip and knee replacements and other medical interventions that require antibiotic treatment will no longer be possible. Diseases caused by bacteria will spread and it will no longer be possible to treat them, which could be fatal.

Sciensano is the reference body in Belgium for the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. Our activities include surveillance and surveys, as well as antimicrobial susceptibility testing in bacterial and fungal isolates originating from humans, animals and the environment (e.g. foodstuffs). 

QR code

QR code for this page URL