José Miguel Cisneros, president of the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, maintains that neither the population nor the politicians have assumed the Resistance to antibiotics as a "capital problem".
Question. How do you rate the results of the study?
Answer. They are very important. They put figures to a capital problem that is not yet assumed as such by the population and political leaders. Few problems cause more than 33,000 deaths per year in Europe. And you are not doing everything you should to stop it.
P. In Spain either?
R. Unfortunately not. We have a good guide, the National Plan to Combat Resistance, but it has no funding nor is it included in the General State Budgets.
Q. What are the risks?
R. There are infections, such as pneumonias klebsiellas, with mortalities of 60%. It is terrifying. These are figures from the time of our grandparents, when there were no antibiotics. If these fail, we put all modern medicine at risk. We are not going to be able to do transplants, or chemotherapy, or cutting-edge treatments if we do not stop the resistances.
Q. What should be done?
R. Any plan must have two irreplaceable pillars. The first is to adopt all control measures within our reach. We need to detect multiresistant bacteria as soon as possible and prevent their spread.
Q. And how is that achieved?
R. We must strengthen the infection control teams in hospitals. You have to train professionals. Provide them with more means. Innovate in your organization Give them more weight in the decision-making processes. All this requires more resources and a change in the culture of the organizations.
Q. You were talking about a second pillar.
R. We have to make a better use of antibiotics. Spain is the first country in Europe in consumption and there is no reason to justify it. It is a barbarity to which we must put an end.
Q. The study says that two out of three infections due to multiresistant bacteria occur in hospitals. You can think that the problem is there.
R. No, the problem is everywhere. The data is true, but we can look at it the other way around: one in three infections is already taken out of hospitals. This is, in the work centers, the street, the schools, at home, in the parks …
Q. And what can I do, for example?
R. First, never take an antibiotic if the doctor does not prescribe it. Second, strictly follow his instructions. If it is skipped, the bacteria in your stomach may be developing resistance. And third, wash your hands.
Q. Do you wash your hands?
R. There are apparently simple acts that are of fundamental importance in curbing bacteria. And this is one of them. From the hospital to the home, we all have to be aware of the importance of hygienic measures. It is essential that campaigns be carried out in this regard.