Failing Antibiotics rise Fear of Epidemics

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 06, 2014

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antibiotics and epidemicsThe World Health Organization has released a new report that says that the world could be on the course of uncontrollable epidemics in the near future. This can be credited to the overuse and also the misuse of antibiotics. By overusing or rather misusing antibiotics we are leading the way to the evolution of superbugs which can withstand even the most powerful antibiotics. The bad news is that it is not exactly a prediction, but in fact is happening right now as you read this.

Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security mentioned in a statement, “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. “

Resistance to antibiotics has the potential to happen to anyone, irrespective of the age or country, and is becoming a major threat to public health which could have devastating implications. In the first global report on antibiotic resistance after collecting data from 114 countries, the World Health Organization said that superbugs are able to evade even the hardest hitting antibiotics. It is a class of drugs called carbapenems, which is found in all the regions of the world. Antibiotics for gonorrhoea, (a sexually transmitted disease and infects more than one million people across the world every day) is falling fast as superbug forms of the bacteria which causes it, outpace them.  At least 10 countries - including Austria, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Slovenia and Sweden, now report having patients with gonorrhoea that is totally untreatable.

There are only a handful of new antibiotics that have been developed and brought to the market in the past few decades. The truth is that it is a race against time to find more because bacterial infections increasingly evolve into superbugs resistant to even the most powerful last resort medicines that are reserved for extreme cases.

MRSA, which is one of the best known superbugs is estimated to have killed around 19, 000 people every year in the United States, this number is far more than HIV and AIDS and there could be found a similar number in Europe.

Resistance to one of the most widely used antibiotics for the urinary tract infections which is caused by E. coli medicines called fluroquinolones is also quite widespread. These drugs were first introduced in the 1980s, during that time the resistance was virtually zero according to the WHO report. However, now there are countries where the drugs are ineffective in more than half the patients.

Fukuda said in a statement, "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. We see horrendous rates of antibiotic resistance wherever we look in our field operations."

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