Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

What is Antimicrobial Resistance?

Antimicrobials are medicines used to treat infections or disease, and are essential in both human and animal health. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when an antimicrobial that was previously effective, is no longer effective to treat an infection or disease caused by a microorganism.

The development of resistance is a natural phenomenon that will inevitably occur when antimicrobials are used to treat disease. The problem at present is that the sheer volume of antimicrobials being used globally in humans, animals and in other situations is leading to significant increases in the rate of development of resistance with the result that common infections are becoming more difficult to treat and microorganisms that are resistant to many antimicrobials, so called ‘superbugs’, are emerging.

Whilst the term antimicrobial resistance is used throughout this document-much of the detail, and the activities in this, Ireland’s first national action plan on AMR are focused specifically on antibiotic resistance.  The Plan was jointly published with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and you can access their AMR webpage here.

Visit the HSE Healthcare Associated Infection & Antimicrobial Resistance page.


Healthy Ireland Survey 2017 – Antibiotics Infographic