The antimicrobial crisis in Latin America

Recognition of antimicrobial resistance as a top priority has led many governments and funding agencies to make important efforts to increase the budget allocated to fund high quality research in this topic. The Longitude Prize in the UK and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenge to find Novel Approaches to Characterizing and Tracking the Global Burden of Antimicrobial Resistance are prime examples of this commitment. Furthermore, the Obama administration’s FY 2016 budget nearly doubled the amount of federal funding to combat antimicrobial resistance, to more than $1.2 billion, and similar efforts have been put in place by the UK and the European Union.

The problem of antimicrobial resistance is as important in Latin America as it is in the rest of the world and advancing our understanding of the crisis at a regional level is crucial. Multidrug-resistant organisms are a major cause of hospital-associated infections in Latin American countries, causing more than 50% of such infections in countries like Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. Moreover, infections with these organisms have been estimated to produce a gross domestic product loss of up to 1.6%, which poses yet another challenge for countries with economies fighting their way into the developed world.

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