Antibiotic resistance is a catastrophic threat that could cause patients with minor surgery risk to die of an infection that was once treatable.
The prediction comes from Britain’s top official, who made the claim on Monday, adding that global action is needed to keep antibiotic resistance from happening.
Sally Davies, the chief medical officer of England, added that research is also vital to the fight to develop new medicines to treat emerging and mutating infections. Bacterial infections have increasingly evolved into superbugs and drug-resistant infections.
It is, in essence, a race against time to find drugs that will fight the newly immune diseases. Davies explained:
“Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat. If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into [the] hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics.”
MRSA, one example of a drug-resistant infection, is blamed for about 19,000 deaths in the US per year. Tuberculosis is also becoming drug resistant with a mutation called NDM 1. It first emerged in India and has since turned up all over the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also reported the appearance of drug-resistant gonorrhoea last year. Davies explained that it is instrumental for drug companies to improve the current arsenal of antibiotics before the catastrophic threat becomes a reality. Increasing surveillance and keeping track of superbugs is also essential.
Along with surveillance, prescribing fewer antibiotics and making sure they are only prescribed when needed is also instruments. Davies also called for urging of better hygiene to keep infections at a minimum. While there has been an 85 percent reduction in MRSA cases, other infections are on the rise. That includes gran-negative bacteria infections. Professor Mike Sharland of St. George’s hospital in London, stated:
“This is your own gut bugs turning on you. Between 10% and 20% are resistant to drugs. We do not yet know why they are on the rise, although some hospital procedures, such as the use of catheters, may be implicated. Many are in the very young or older population.”
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry agrees with Davies, saying that antibiotic resistance is definitely a catastrophic threat. Chief Executive Stephen Whitehead called the situation a “serious and growing problem.”
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