Interactive map helps visualize drug resistance data

Drug Resistance CGD

Antimicrobial resistance, or drug resistance, can be a tricky topic to wrap your head around, so we thought we’d highlight a a very cool new interactive map from the Center for Global Development (CGD). It shows drug resistance data relating to selected infectious diseases across the world, including HIV, pneumonia, shigella, MDR-TB, malaria and MRSA.

The map highlights where individuals carrying resistant strains are, as well as locations that have seen failures of selected drugs and facts on drug resistance. What’s scary is the limited information available to the map. Based on estimates and small-scale studies, what the map truly highlights is how dangerously limited our current knowledge on drug resistance prevalence is.

How is drug resistance spread? Well, according to Rachel Nugent, lead author of “The Race Against Drug Resistance,” a CGD working group report, resistance is spread through “superbugs” such as hospital-bred pathogens that are immune to antibiotics, drug-resistant malaria and drug-resistant TB, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says has the ability to infect an estimated two million people worldwide by 2015.

“When you see and feel an emergency, you respond to it,” Rachel explains, “Unfortunately, drug resistance tends to be invisible, so it’s been hard to come up with a coherent response.” The World Health Organization is now renewing its focus on drug resistance, and CGD has come up with four key recommendations in an effort to beat drug resistance.

Be sure to check out CGD’s interactive map to become better informed, and listen to Rachel’s podcast as well.