The rest of this century looks pretty bleak for humanity.
That’s according to a World Health Organization assessment of antibiotic use. Common infections and minor injuries could result in more fatalities because of a resistance bacteria have developed to drugs worldwide.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
“This serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country,” The World Health Organization website said Wednesday. “Antibiotic resistance — when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections — is now a major threat to public health.”
“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, 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,” Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security, said in a prepared news release. “Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine.
“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.”
Problems include hospital-acquired infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, infections in newborns and intensive-care unit patients. “Resistance to one of the most widely used antibacterial medicines for the treatment of urinary tract infections caused by E. coli — fluoroquinolones — is very widespread.” Gonorrhoea is a growing concern with treatment failure occurring in many nations worldwide. “More than 1 million people are infected with gonorrhoea around the world every day,” the report noted.
The report lists several ways to combat the antibiotic resistance problem, including people only taking antibiotics when prescribed and completing their prescriptions even though they may feel better. Health care workers have to do a better job of cutting down on infections starting, and policymakers must push for new means to combat bacteria that are resistant to today’s drugs.