The World Health Organization says the world faces a huge public health threat as bacteria and viruses become increasingly resistant to antibiotic drugs, putting people of any age in danger. The need to develop new drugs is urgent, the organization states.

The Guardian reports:

In the UK, as elsewhere, there is increasing concern about infections from Klebsiella pneumoniae, bacterium carried in the intestines which has become resistant to the last line of antibiotics available, the carbapanems. In fragile patients on intensive care wards and newborn babies, these infections can be fatal. Meanwhile, sexually transmitted gonorrhoea is on the increase and is also resistant to the last-resort antibiotics used to treat it.

“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,” said Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director general for health security.

“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.”

The report published Wednesday is the first to collect comprehensive data from the WHO on antibiotic resistance, containing information from 114 countries. The data are more complete in some regions than in others, but “it is clear that drug-resistant strains of bacteria and viruses are common and that trying to preserve the efficacy of current antibiotics is a losing battle,” The Guardian says.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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