Antibiotic Resistance Threatens Global Plague
Diseases that were once treatable are becoming killers again, the World Health Organization warned on April 30. The organization said the over-prescription of antibiotics has enabled the rise of untreatable superbugs.
“For organism after organism, we’re seeing this steady increase in resistance rates,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters. “We don’t have new drugs about to come out of the pipeline. If and when we get new drugs, unless we do a better job of protecting them, we’ll lose those also.”
“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,” said Keiji Fukuda, the who’s assistant director-general for health security.
Among the report’s key findings was the global spread of drug-resistant gonorrhea, which could soon become a deadly killer again. Extremely resistant forms of the disease have been identified in Australia, the UK and several European countries. The cdc said in February that another tough strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea was on the rise, especially among homosexual men living in the western U.S.
More than 2 million Americans who develop serious bacterial infections show antibiotic resistance, the cdc reported, and at least 23,000 die from the infections—more than the number of aids deaths in the U.S. each year.
Startlingly, hospitals are a major source of these deadly infections. The who noted an alarming rate of resistance to carbapenem antibiotics, which is the strongest weapon against life-threatening infections caused by Klebsiella pneumonia (a major culprit of hospital-acquired infections like pneumonia and blood infections).
Additionally, the cdc reported in the past that widespread use of antibiotics in food production to promote animal growth has also caused many resistant strains of bacteria.
The article “Gonorrhea Apocalypse” makes the case that the world may be heading toward a time when deaths from cuts and scrapes are once again reality. It is worth the read.