The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in early April that we have entered a new phase of human history we may not have been expecting, and it is related to drug-resistant bacteria that do not respond to antibiotics.
In fact, the CDC reported “unusual resistance germs” were found “more than 200 times in 2017” and they are terming it “nightmare bacteria.” Regardless, this alert by the CDC is intended to stop the spread of these antibiotic-resistant microorganisms before they begin.
For example, the CDC recommends health care facilities (including nursing homes) develop an action plan that will allow unusual germs or genes to be identified when they are found in patients. Investigations by CDC designated authorities include colonization screenings and onsite infection control assessments.
This is not the first time the CDC has reported a pending problem with drug resistance in bacteria. In 2013, the CDC reported on their website that 2 million people were infected by bacteria that resist treatment from antibiotics in previous years.
Furthermore, as reported in 2013, the CDC stated there were an estimated 23,000 people dying annually from antibiotic-resistant microbes. It was also noted by the CDC there was also a large number of people dying from the complications of having a bacterial infection that is drug resistant.
Fortunately, there are some institutions trying to prevent future disasters like outbreaks due to a lack of antibiotics that work to prevent severe bacterial infections.
For example, in an opinion piece in the Guardian published on March 29, Caroline Purslow, Program Manager for the Longitude Prize at the Challenge Prize Centre at Nesta states rich countries are not the only ones affected by antibiotics resistance.
Purslow states the testing for bacteria versus virus and determining whether using antibiotics is ideal must not be limited to rich countries.
Instead, Purlow promotes the Longitude Prize as a multi-million dollar grant to specifically find solutions for antibiotic resistance and, “reduce inappropriate prescriptions by [making incentives for] the development of a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic test. This would allow clinicians to prescribe antibiotics only when needed, and ensure patients with viral infections were not given antibiotics.”
Unfortunately, there will be other battles to fight in the realms of antibiotics in 2018 according to government officials. Another pending fear about antibiotic resistance was painted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
In their article published on March 29, the CFR stated antibiotics are “facing an existential crisis” in less than 100 years since their introduction. The CFR goes on to explain that the research and development of new antibiotics has slowed down significantly and this puts “the world at risk of entering a dangerous era in which routine infections are untreatable.”