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Superbugs threaten general population as world heads for 'post-antibiotic era'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/30/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Antibiotic resistance has potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country

While many fear bills, taxes and wars and rumors of war, an insidious new threat to humanity's general well-being remains the "superbug" - disease that is resistant to antibiotics. United Nations officials say that the spread of deadly superbugs is happening right now across the world - and that no one person alive is immune from the threat.

'The world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,' Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization's assistant director-general for health security says.

"The world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill," Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization's assistant director-general for health security says.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/30/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Superbugs, antibiotic resistance, vulnerability


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Antibiotic resistance has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. It is now a major threat to public health, of which "the implications will be devastating," according to the U.N.

"The world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill," Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization's assistant director-general for health security says.

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In the United Nations' first global report on antibiotic resistance, with data from 114 countries, the WHO said superbugs are now able to survive the hardest-hitting antibiotics, a class of drugs called carbapenems . in all regions of the world.

Driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, superbugs develop new ways of overcoming them.

Only a handful of new antibiotics have been developed and brought to market in the past few decades. It's now a race against time to find more as bacterial infections increasingly evolve into "superbugs" resistant to even the most powerful last-resort medicines reserved for extreme cases.

MRSA alone is estimated to kill around 19,000 people every year in the United States, which is far more than HIV and AIDS.

Carbapenems are incapable of working in more than half of people with common hospital-acquired infections caused by a bacteria called K. pneumonia. This bacteria commonly takes the form of pneumonia, blood infections and infections in newborn babies and intensive-care patients.

Resistance to one of the most widely used antibiotics for treating urinary tract infections caused by E. coli, called fluoroquinolones is also very widespread.

When these antibiotics were first introduced in the 1980s, resistance was virtually zero, according to the WHO report. There are countries in many parts of the world where the drugs are now ineffective in more than half of patients.

"Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating," Fukuda said in a statement.

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