New wave of ‘superbugs’ poses dire threat, says chief medical officer

by Sarah Boseley, the guardian  |  published on March 11, 2013

Antibiotics

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria with the potential to cause untreatable infections pose “a catastrophic threat” to the population, the chief medical officer for Britain warns in a report calling for urgent action worldwide.

If tough measures are not taken to restrict the use of antibiotics and no new ones are discovered, said Dame Sally Davies, “we will find ourselves in a health system not dissimilar to the early 19th century at some point”.

While antibiotics are failing, new bacterial diseases are on the rise. Although the “superbugs” MRSA and C difficile have been reduced to low numbers in hospitals, there has been an alarming increase in other types of bacteria including new strains of E coli and Klebsiella, which causes pneumonia.

These so-called “gram negative” bacteria, which are found in the gut instead of on the skin, are highly dangerous to older and frailer people and few antibiotics remain effective against drug-resistant strains.

As many as 5,000 patients die each year in the UK of gram negative sepsis – where the bacterium gets into the bloodstream – and in half the cases the bacterium is resistant to drugs.

“Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat,” said Davies. “If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics. And routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection.

No comments yet - you can be the first!

Comments are closed.

Do you Love your country but hate your government?

Join your fellow Libertarians who seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others. Join over 500,000 Americans who get their daily dose of minimal government and maximum freedom with The New Liberty Movement.

We know how important your privacy is and your information is SAFE with us. We’ll never sell
your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time directly from your inbox.
View our full privacy policy.