Antibiotic resistance and societal security
Ever increasing attention is being paid to the challenge that society
faces with the continuing development of antibiotic resistance.
Many years of excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics has
accelerated the development of resistance. It is a problem concerning
several societal sectors and services, and as a consequence must be
dealt with at all levels: locally, nationally and internationally.
In accordance with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency’s (MSB)
mandate to analyse particularly serious vulnerabilities, threats
and risks, the MSB has in this study investigated what an extensive
antibiotic resistance could entail for societal security. Increasing
antibiotic resistance threatens not only lives and health but might
also affect vital societal functions. Examples include the medical
services, pharmaceutical supplies, care facilities, food, drinking
water supply, sanitation and the fire and rescue ser vices. Public
trust and confidence in societal institutions might diminish and
the societal costs of antibiotic resistance could be extensive.
A more extensive antibiotic resistance could also complicate the
management of certain types of emergencies. Unless the development
of antibiotic resistance can be slowed down, medical care in
the future could encounter major problems regarding treatment
of injuries caused by big accidents and crises, or with the bacterial
secondary diseases (sequelae) that follow a pandemic.