Infection control measures in times of antimicrobial resistance : a matter of solidarity

Rump, Babette; Timen, Aura; Hulscher, Marlies; Verweij, Marcel


Control measures directed at carriers of multidrug-resistant organisms are traditionally approached as a trade-off between public interests on the one hand and individual autonomy on the other. We propose to reframe the ethical issue and consider control measures directed at carriers an issue of solidarity. Rather than asking "whether it is justified to impose strict measures", we propose asking "how to best care for a person's carriership and well-being in ways that do not imply an unacceptable risk for others?". A solidarity approach could include elevating baseline levels of precaution measures and accepting certain risks in cases where there is exceptionally much at stake. A generous national compensation policy that also covers for costs related to dedicated care is essential in a solidarity approach. An additional benefit of reframing the questions is that it helps to better acknowledge that being subjected to control measures is a highly personal matter.