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What Is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

Antimicrobials are treatments designed to kill microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, or protozoa that cause infections.

AMR is the ability of microorganisms to become “superbugs” and nullify the effects of antimicrobial drugs. This results in these drugs becoming ineffective.

Your body cannot become resistant to antimicrobials. It is the microorganisms that can become resistant to the drugs.

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Antibiotic vs. Antimicrobial Resistance

What is the difference between antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance?

Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Bacteria, not humans, become antibiotic resistant. These bacteria may then infect humans and are harder to treat than non-resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance is a broader term, encompassing resistance to drugs that treat infections caused by other microbes as well, such as parasites, viruses, and fungi.

quote icon AMR is not a problem that can be solved by any one country, or even any one region. We live in a connected world where people, animals, and food travel, and microbes travel with them.6 quote icon
- Jim O'Neill From Superbugs: An Arms Race Against Bacteria

What’s Your AMR IQ?

Take this quiz to find out how much you know about AMR.

Global Effects of Antimicrobial Resistance

Latest Findings

FAO plan aims to counter antibiotic resistance in food, ag sectors
With antimicrobial use in livestock expected to double in 30 years, the FAO says nations' AMR capacities need bolstering.
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CIDRAP Antimicrobial Stewardship Project Newsletter - Dec 2, 2021
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CDDEP Resistance Map

Learn more about resistance rates around the world (and in your community) with an interactive collection of charts and maps that summarize national and subnational data on antimicrobial use and resistance worldwide.

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Translating antibiotic prescribing into antibiotic resistance in the environment

The environment receives antibiotics through a combination of direct application, as well as indirect release through pharmaceutical manufacturing, sewage and animal manure.

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