Adapting human behaviour and our interactions with the environment will pay a vital part in controlling the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Overuse of antibiotics is a key factor in the rise and spread of antibiotic resistance. Excessive prescribing of antibiotics is likely to reflect a complex array of factors, including patient attitudes and expectations, that influence physician behaviour.
Furthermore, while technical tools such as new diagnostics should facilitate more rational use of antibiotics, how they are integrated into routine clinical practice and influence physician behaviour remains to be seen. Hence there is a need to understand human behaviours relevant to antibiotic use and infection control, among patients and professionals, and to use this understanding to develop and evaluate behaviour change interventions.
Our interactions with the surrounding environment are a further important factor influencing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Understanding how the built environment favours the spread of antibiotic resistance, and how it can be designed to limit such spread, are further important research goals.