Antimicrobial Resistance: A Growing Concern for Healthcare Security and Resilience

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Presentation by Antimicrobial ResistanceProfessor Neil Woodford BSc PhD FRCPath
Head, Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections Reference Unit Health Protection Agency

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - the resistance of microorganisms including bacteria and viruses to medicines that are used to treat the infections they cause - is a growing concern not only for the healthcare sector but, increasingly, for security and resilience.

Serious outbreaks of infection could result from the emergence of a strain that cannot be treated effectively with currently available drugs, or from one that quickly develops resistance to the stockpiled countermeasures. This concern includes, but is not limited to, bacteria that cause infections in healthcare settings.

At a time when the pipeline of antibiotics in development is exceedingly limited, the rising number of bacteria resistant to key antibiotics of last resort, in the UK and internationally, poses a huge public health threat. Resistance is forcing governments into greater collaboration, influencing immigration policy in the UK and is changing the way we think about domestic resilience.

As part of a week of activities following European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November 2012, RUSI hosted Professor Neil Woodford of the HPA. Professor Woodford to talk about general issues of resistance, importation of resistant bacteria by infected or colonised conflict victims, travelers and medical tourists, and international responses to these threats.

RUSI also co-hosted a workshop on Antimicrobial Resistance with the Science and Technology Facilities Council on 6 February 2013. For more information, please contact

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