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Paradigm shift needed to combat drug resistance
Date:10/15/2009

Hamilton, ON (Oct. 14, 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.

However, the trend is contributing to substantial domestic and international public health threats and risks, as seen with SARS and more recently with the H1N1 flu virus.

In a paper published today in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a McMaster University infectious disease expert explores the relationship between population mobility, globalization and antimicrobial drug resistance.

In collaboration with a team of international scientists, Douglas MacPherson, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, assesses the link between human travel and the international movement of drug-resistant infectious diseases around the world.

Citing published data, the authors conclude that population mobility affects the spread and distribution of resistant organisms. But despite this, it has not been considered a primary factor in developing approaches for disease control. The authors propose a paradigm shift is needed to tackle the problem, as well as greater international collaboration and standardization across borders.

"The movement of human beings is introducing many of the greatest risks to our health and health systems today," said MacPherson, a physician and medical microbiology specialist.

"For example, if you go down south on a Florida holiday and break your leg and end up in a Florida hospital, when you come home, you're going to be carrying institutional bugs back to Hamilton and you're going to introduce that variety of antimicrobial resistance into your local environment. Mobile populations are probably the most common way of movi
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Contact: Veronica McGuire
vmcguir@mcmaster.ca
90-552-591-402-2169
McMaster University
Source:Eurekalert

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