Antibiotic Resistance: Moving From Individual Health Norms to Social Norms in One Health and Global Health

Front Microbiol. 2020 Aug 28;11:1914. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.01914. eCollection 2020.


Antibiotic resistance is a problem for human health, and consequently, its study had been traditionally focused toward its impact for the success of treating human infections in individual patients (individual health). Nevertheless, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes are not confined only to the infected patients. It is now generally accepted that the problem goes beyond humans, hospitals, or long-term facility settings and that it should be considered simultaneously in human-connected animals, farms, food, water, and natural ecosystems. In this regard, the health of humans, animals, and local antibiotic-resistance-polluted environments should influence the health of the whole interconnected local ecosystem (One Health). In addition, antibiotic resistance is also a global problem; any resistant microorganism (and its antibiotic resistance genes) could be distributed worldwide. Consequently, antibiotic resistance is a pandemic that requires Global Health solutions. Social norms, imposing individual and group behavior that favor global human health and in accordance with the increasingly collective awareness of the lack of human alienation from nature, will positively influence these solutions. In this regard, the problem of antibiotic resistance should be understood within the framework of socioeconomic and ecological efforts to ensure the sustainability of human development and the associated human-natural ecosystem interactions.

Keywords: Global Health; One Health; antibiotic resistance; farming; waste water.

Publication types

  • Review