Bacterial resistance: the significant worldwide problem


(Michael Schiffer, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Ketelly Bueno Koch, 21, fifth semester medical student at the University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Throughout the process of knowledge and creation of the first antibiotics, the world’s population was thrilled to learn that it could cure itself of fatal bacterial diseases. From the discovery of the first antibiotic, Penicillin, in 1928 by physician Alexander Fleming, pathologies such as syphilis, gonorrhea and pneumonia could be cured, increasing the survival of the world population. However, with the advent of science and the study of microbiology, bacterial resistance was discovered, a process in which natural selection occurs, where the stronger genetically bacteria survive the antibiotic used, thus propagating and generating more bacteria of the same genotype.

This problem affects a large part of the world’s population, constituting one of the biggest current public health problems. In Brazil, it is estimated that there are 23,000 annual deaths due to the problem. Thus, diseases that were previously cured with only one antibiotic no longer respond to treatment, leading to aggravation of pathologies that were easily eradicated. The World Health Organization’s list of the most resistant bacteria in the world before was seven bacteria in 2014, rising to 12 in 2017, showing an imminent threat to public health.

However, it is of utmost importance to have knowledge about the factors that are contributing to this problem, in order to combat it as best as possible. Among the contributors to the condition is poor hygiene, especially handwashing in hospitals, where staff and patients do not follow the washing steps, nor do they apply gel alcohol. In addition, a wide range of physicians empirically prescribe antibiotics without first performing culture and antibiogram collection, as well as microbiology laboratories that lack adequate infrastructure, whether in equipment or qualified professionals.

Therefore, it is necessary to have effective measures to combat the problem. It is important for prevention that the general population, as well as health professionals and other hospital workers, have general hygiene, such as care with hand washing and equipment sterilization. Vaccines also need to be up to date. The population should not arbitrarily reuse antibiotics left over from past treatments, there should always be medical indication in the use of these medications. For physicians, it is essential that antibiotic prescriptions come with adequate dosage and whenever possible perform antibiogram and culture collection. In addition, it is of paramount importance that the governors of different countries conduct campaigns aimed at informing the population correctly, as well as providing specific training for all health officials. If psychologists, physiotherapists, nurses and other professions have adequate and uniform knowledge  about the problem, there will be a correct dissemination of information to patients and the general population. Thus, with interprofessionality in vogue, it is possible to gradually minimize bacterial resistance.


Folha informativa – Resistência aos antibióticos [Internet]. [place unknown]: OPAS Brasil; 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 21]. Available from:

Superbactérias avançam no Brasil e levam autoridades de saúde a correr contra o tempo [Internet]. [place unknown]: BBC Brasil; 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 21]. Available from:

Ministério da Saúde desenvolve ações para buscar respostas contra resistência aos antimicrobianos [Internet]. [place unknown]: Ministério da Saúde; 2018 [cited 2019 Nov 21]. Available from:

Antimicrobianos. Boletim [Internet]. 2018 Junho [cited 2019 Nov 21];:16. Available from:

About the author

Ketelly Bueno Koch, 21, fifth semester medical student at the University of Caxias do Sul. Member of IFMSA – Brazil since March 2019, currently holding the position of SCOME committee coordinator. Dedicated to research and always attentive to the news of the medical world. Active in social issues, mainly related to volunteer work, which she believes to be fundamental for academic education.







the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

COP22 addresses a strong global pledge to effectively implement the Paris Agreement

Financial support for workers affected by no-deal Brexit

UN’s Bachelet addresses progress and setbacks in human rights worldwide

The European Union continues to lead the global fight against climate change

Shaping the future of democracy in Armenia

Why the agtech boom isn’t your typical tech disruption

What’s really driving corporate climate action?

These innovations could keep us cool without warming the planet

In West Africa, UN Security Council visits Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau

UNICEF reports uneven progress in 30 years of child rights treaty

Friday’s Daily Brief: hunger in North Korea, human rights in Iran, updates on DR Congo and Benin

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

Restoring prospect of peace in Middle East is ‘our shared responsibility’ UN envoy tells Security Council

Industrial price dive may lead to point of no return

Alcoholic drinks: Commission tables update of rules governing alcohol excise duties

Anti-vaccination: a private choice leading to collective outcomes

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

UN condemns deadly attack against G5 Sahel force headquarters in Mali

UN chief calls for ‘immediate end’ to escalation of fighting in southwestern Syria, as thousands are displaced

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Greece: The new government of Alexis Tsipras shows its colors

The world’s landmine stockpiles in numbers

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

3 ways to make the 2020s the decade we close the gender gap

“Our house is on fire.” 16 year-old Greta Thunberg wants action

How cocoa farming can help stop deforestation

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

AI-driven companies need to be more diverse. Here’s why

Cameron readies to support ‘yes’ for Britain in the EU

MEPs boost support for EU research and Erasmus

EU adopts retaliative measures in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs

In Finland, speeding tickets are linked to your income

‘Negative developments’ undermining two-State solution in Middle East

EU Court of Justice invalidates Safe Harbour and the game for thousands US businesses suddenly changes

EU and UK soon to be in a post-Brexit rush over free trade agreement with Australia

Conflict diamonds and climate change: Cooperate, don’t compete over natural resources urges Guterres

‘Transformational benefits’ of ending outdoor defecation: Why toilets matter

Protecting whistle-blowers: new EU-wide rules approved

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Mental health: what can be done to diminish increasing suicide rates?

4 ways 3D printing can revolutionize manufacturing

Water supply a human right but Greeks to lose their functioning utilities

Gender equality: an issue much talked about but less acted upon

10 tonnes of trash was taken off Everest – and repurposed

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

CDU-SPD agree the terms for EU’s Banking Union

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

Terrorist content online should be removed within one hour, says EP

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

In Washington D.C., Guterres signs pact with World Bank, meets US President Trump

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

Medical ethics in the age of the social media influencers

Fairness in the Food Supply Chain: Commission welcomes Member States’ support for greater price transparency

This is what the world’s waste does to people in poorer countries

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

Why the ECB had to clarify it caters for the entire Eurozone not just Germany?

A seafood fraud investigation DNA tested fish sold in the US. Here’s what they found

Revolutionary technologies will drive African prosperity – this is why

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s