Treating wound infection in the face of antiseptic resistance

Today the treatment of overt wound infection relies mainly on antibiotics, but the sustained emergence of antibiotic-resistant microbial strains threatens a return to the pre-antibiotic era where antiseptics were routinely utilised. The range of non-antimicrobial agents available for topical use on wounds is diverse and includes silver, iodine, chlorhexidine, octenidine and honey.

Unlike antibiotics, whose mode of action affects specific cellular target sites in pathogens, antiseptics elicit inhibition in a more generalised manner by acting simultaneously on multiple target sites as oxidising or denaturing agents. This reduces the likelihood of selecting for antiseptic-resistant strains. However, reports of antiseptic-resistance have increased since the 1950s together with a small number of cases of cross-resistance between antibiotics and antiseptics.

This suggests the judicious use of both antibiotics and antiseptics to preserve efficacy and demonstrates an urgent need to search for additional antimicrobial strategies. The risks and opportunities for non-antibiotic antimicrobial interventions in future wound care will be explored in this presentation. 

This lecture is presented by Rose Cooper, UK

R Cooper BSc, PhD, PGCE, CBiol, MRSB, FRSA
Professor of Microbiology
Department of Biomedical Sciences,
Cardiff School of Health Sciences,
Cardiff Metropolitan University,
Llandaff Campus,
Western Avenue,
Cardiff CF5 2YB