Scientists are warning that a growing resistance to antibiotics poses a major global threat to public health.
In the first worldwide survey of the problem, the World Health Organisation found for example high rates of drug-resistant E-coli bacteria, which causes problems such as meningitis, and infections of the skin, blood and the kidneys.
Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General, WHO:
‘‘This is not a regional phenomenon, this is not a phenomena occurring in just poor countries, or just developing countries, or in rich countries or
developed countries…this is something which is occurring in all countries in the world.’‘
Health experts have long warned about the dangers of drug resistance, particularly in diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and flu. Now researchers say that can see a future or “post-antibiotic era” where people die from simple infections that have been treatable for decades, if nothing is done.
MSF Microbiologist Jean-Baptiste Ronat explained the two main reasons for the problem:
“The use and the overuse of antibiotics in food factories and animal production – especially the fact that we use antibiotics as growth factors since ages in the US, and all over the world. It has been restricted in Europe since 2001. And the second one is the overuse in human health.”
The answer – a more responsible prescribing and use of antibiotics by both doctors and patients, better hygiene to limit disease transmission, and to use vaccinations to reduce the need for drugs in the first place.