Health risk alert: Medical chiefs fear global CRISIS as resistance to antibiotics soars

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
By Paul Martin

DOCTORS have warned of a global health crisis as increasing numbers of people become resistant to antibiotics and experts fear a return to the days before penicillin when a simple cut or infection could mean a death sentence.

Tue, Jan 30, 2018

Results of a World Health Organisation (WHO) survey carried out across 22 high and low-income countries revealed antibiotic resistance to a number of serious bacterial infections was growing at an alarming rate.

And researchers who questioned 500,000 people with suspected bacterial infections between March 2016 and July 2017 were shocked by the scale of the drug-resistance that emerged from the survey.

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said the survey’s findings raised many red flags among health professionals who admitted it was “one of the biggest threats to global public health”.

Mr Lindmeir said: “The data that these countries provided show us that in some of the most common bacteria, the most commonly reported resistant bacteria, we find the resistance of sometimes up to 65 per cent even up to 82 percent, depending on the bacteria.

“These are really alarming data.”

The most commonly reported resistant bacteria include e-coli bacterial infection, pneumonia and salmonella.

WHO chiefs said the survey, the first of its kind, is vital to improving and understanding the extent of antimicrobial resistance in the world.

They are now urging every country to set up surveillance systems to track drug resistance and provide much-needed information to tackle what they described as one of the biggest threats to global public health.

Mr Lindmeier warned the world could return to the dangerous days before penicillin was discovered if drug resistance was not successfully tackled.

He said: “A simple infection, a cut, minor surgery suddenly can turn into a potentially most dangerous, life-threatening situation because infections would then prove drug resistant.

“A cancer treatment for example would become a huge challenge on top of the cancer because the already low immune system could not be boosted any more with antibiotics. Any infection would pose an additional risk.”

Mr Lindmeier said some countries were taking the warnings seriously with countries such as Kenya enhancing its national antimicrobial resistance system, Tunisia collecting national drug-resistant data and South Korea is strengthening its surveillance system.

Dr Marc Sprenger, director of WHO’s Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat said: “The report confirms the serious situation of antibiotic resistance worldwide.

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