The World Health Organization has declared antibiotic resistance as the single most threat to the future of human health. The Economist writes: “When people hear about antibiotic resistance creating ‘superbugs’ they tend to think of new diseases and pandemics spreading out of control. The real threat is less flamboyant, but still serious: existing problems getting worse, sometimes dramatically. Infections acquired in hospital are a prime example. They are already a problem, but with more antibiotic resistance they could become a much worse one. Elective surgery, such as hip replacements, now routine, would come to carry what might be seen as unacceptable risk. So might Caesarean sections. The risks of procedures which suppress the immune system, such as organ transplants and cancer chemotherapies, would increase.”
And let’s not forget about poorer countries. If microbial resistance spreads to drugs against parasites, problems such as malaria and viruses like HIV disproportionately impact developing countries and countries affected by climate change. Multiple drug resistant tuberculosis is already killing 200,000 a year, and artemisinin resistant parasites (the drug used to treat malaria) are already a reality.
We are in for a horrendous backslide of human health advancements if we don’t act now to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics.
A link to the article:
The Grim Prospect.