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Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Threatens Humanity, Says UK Doc

Jan 25th, 2013

Antibiotic Resistant BacteriaWe may be losing the war on microbes as our antibiotics are becoming ineffective against them. Humanity may be facing a bigger threat than global warming, said Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer.

“It is clear that we might never see global warming. The apocalyptic scenario is that, if I need a new hip in 20 years, I’ll die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics,” Davies told medical practitioners at a recent Commons Science and Technology Committee meeting.

Davies noted that gonorrhea cases are on the rise and almost 80 percent of them are resistant to current antibiotics. She also warned that tuberculosis is threatening to become a global pandemic as 440,000 people are diagnosed with drug-resistant TB each year, leading to 150,000 deaths.

“It is very serious because we are not using our antibiotics effectively,” Davies said. “There is a broken market model for making new antibiotics. It’s an empty pipeline. As [infections] become resistant, there will not be any new antibiotics to come.”

The resulting health threat is so serious that she recommends adding the issue to the government’s list of civil emergencies.

Davies discussed the antibiotic crisis with World Health Organization (WHO) officials and leaders from other countries.

Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics through inappropriate or irrational use of medicines, such as antibiotic abuse in livestock and failing to complete the full course of antibiotic treatment causing possible antibiotic resistant bacteria.

“If trends continue unabated, the future is easy to predict. Some experts say we are moving back to the pre-antibiotic era. No. This will be a post-antibiotic era,” said Margaret Chan, WHO director-general. “In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry, especially for gram-negative bacteria. The cupboard is nearly bare.”

Chan described a grim scenario if we lose our main weapon against microbes.

“A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill,” she said.

Source: VISTA Health Solutions


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