Antibiotic resistance

Bacteria can adapt so that antibiotics do not act anymore. So not people themselves become resistant to antibiotics, but bacteria do. The resistant bacteria can make treatment last longer or even impossible in some cases.

Antibiotics are essential in combating many bacterial infections. They enable doctors to treat conditions such as pneumonia or sepsis, and they help protect vulnerable patients who have a chronic disease, are undergoing chemotherapy (for cancer) or who have just had an operation.

Resistance to antibiotics – or antibiotic resistance – is the ability of certain bacteria to adapt so that they can resist the action of antibiotics. People themselves do not become resistant to antibiotics, only bacteria can. The resistant bacteria can then move from one person to another and make treatment more difficult, longer and even impossible in some cases.

Last modification 19.09.2019

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Communicable Diseases Division
Strategies, Principles and Programmes Section
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Berne
Tel. +41 58 463 87 06

Antibiotic Resistance Infoline
Tel. +41 58 467 64 31 

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