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WHO* updates its priority bacterial pathogens list for 2024, to curb the spread of antimicrobial resistance

Last May, the *World Health Organization (WHO) published a new list featuring 15 families of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


bioMérieux, as part of its commitment to improving global public health and the LatAm region, focuses on global solutions to combat antimicrobial resistance. In this process, where diagnosis is essential for patients' lives, research and development play a fundamental role. Therefore, our efforts are also oriented towards analyzing new scientific evidence that includes the potential emergence of infections. In this context, the recent WHO updated list of drug-resistant bacteria considered dangerous to human health represents another challenge for health systems, which have an ally in our company through our innovative, rapid, reliable, and safe technologies.

 

As stated by the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance occurs when these drugs lose their activity against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. As a result, the diseases they cause become more severe and increase the risk of spreading and transmitting to more people, causing higher morbidity and mortality. The main cause of resistance emergence is the excessive and improper use of antimicrobials. This updated list incorporates new evidence and information provided by experts that will be useful for the research and development of new antibiotics, promoting international coordination, and encouraging innovation. The document recently published by this international organization indicates that five combinations of pathogens and antibiotics included in the 2017 list have been removed, and four new combinations have been added to the 2024 list. Third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae are listed in a separate group within the critical priority category, highlighting their morbidity and mortality burden and the need for specific interventions to address them, especially in low- and middle-income countries.s.


According to the WHO, the 15 families of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are classified into three categories (critical, high, and medium). Thus, the organization’s 2024 priority bacterial pathogens list is as follows:


Critical Priority:

 

  • Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii

  • Third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae

  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae

  • Rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (included, after an independent analysis with parallel criteria and subsequent application of an adapted analysis matrix to decide based on several criteria)



High Priority:

 

  • Fluoroquinolone-resistant Salmonella Typhi

  • Fluoroquinolone-resistant Shigella spp.

  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium

  • Carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa

  • Fluoroquinolone-resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella

  • Third-generation cephalosporin and/or fluoroquinolone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus



Medium Priority:

 

  • Macrolide-resistant Group A streptococcus

  • Macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae

  • Ampicillin-resistant Haemophilus influenzae

  • Macrolide-resistant Group B Streptococcus

 


Finally, the WHO document emphasizes that the changes introduced since 2017 reflect the dynamics of antimicrobial resistance, which requires adapting interventions. To use this list as a tool worldwide, it must be adapted to national and regional contexts, considering regional variations in pathogen distribution and resistance burden. For example, drug-resistant Mycoplasma genitalium, which is not included in the list, is increasingly problematic in some parts of the world.


If you would like to see the full document (in English), "WHO bacterial priority pathogens list, 2024". Click here




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