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Understanding antibiotic resistance
Understanding antibiotic resistance

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4.1 The rise of antibiotic resistance

By analysing country-specific data, we can build up a picture of antibiotic use and resistance worldwide.

Activity 6 Antibiotic consumption

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Review Figure 4 which shows country-specific antibiotic consumption data for the period 2000 to 2010.

What trend(s) can you identify?

A schematic world map showing percentage change in antibiotic consumption per capita 2000–2010.
Figure 4 Percentage change in antibiotic consumption per capita 2000–2010. Percentage decrease is indicated in blue while percentage increase is indicated in red. Lower percentage changes are indicated by lighter colours.


High-income countries, for example in Western Europe and the USA, maintained or even reduced antibiotic consumption between 2000 and 2010. In contrast, antibiotic consumption increased in low and middle income countries (LMICs) such as South Africa and India.

You will explore some of the reasons for the changing patterns of antibiotic use later in the course.

Global levels of antibiotic resistance have similarly increased this century. However, the resistance shown by individual bacterial species to a particular antibiotic can vary considerably between, and even within, countries (Figure 5).

A bar graph showing the percentage antibiotic resistance in OECD countries in 2014 and 2005.
Figure 5 Antibiotic resistance in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in 2005 and 2014.