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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria (Policy Brief 299 - November 2012)

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria (Policy Brief 299 - November 2012)



Worldwide dissemination of antibiotic-resistant bacteria  is a major threat to public health , and calls for strong measures to preserve and develop our armamentarium.

  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Since their discovery and first use during World War II, antibiotics have significantly participated in reducing mortality from infectious diseases in the twentieth century. However, the massive - and often irrational - use of these "miraculous drugs" for humans as well as for animals, has led to the accelerated development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Combined with the scarcity of new antibiotics on the market in recent years, the increase of bacterial resistance in the world represents a major threat to public health. The recent apparition of multi-resistant bacteria (MRB) insensitive to most, if not all currently known antibiotiques, raises the spectre of a return to the pre-antibiotic era. There are already cases of therapeutic "dead ends", incurable infections leading to amputation and even death of the patient.

The human and economic cost of MRB infections continues to grow. France, which remains one of the largest consumers of antibiotics in Europe in human and veterinary medicine, has been conducting actions since 2000  to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics that have allowed some progress, but much remains to be done. The current health situation calls for the strengthening of measures to reduce the use of antibiotics, in particular molecules of last resort - in both men and animals, and to develop new anti-infective strategies.


  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a major challenge for public health in France and around the world
  • France progresses in the fight against antibiotic resistance but remains one of the biggest consumers in Europe
  • Good practices in France and abroad can be the source of a comprehensive and effective stategy
  • It is important to evelop strategies to prevent infections and increase our armamentarium
  • Authors: Aude Teillant, Sustainable development department, and Matilde Reynaudi, Social Issues Department .

Keywords: antibiotic, bacteria, antibiotic resistance, health, infection, bacterial, phage, epidemic.


Centre d’analyse stratégique