Atlanta (CBS Atlanta) – The World Health Organization published a report on Wednesday stating that drug-resistant bacteria have become a serious problem for public health not only in developing countries, but around the globe, including the U.S.
Very high rates of drug resistance can be found in common bacteria, and WHO goes as far as to say that we are fast-approaching a future where minor infections, injures, and illnesses such as E. Coli could lead to death; possibly within this century.
“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, one of the WHO’s assistant director-generals, warned in a recent release.
The U.S. has reason to be concerned as well, with doctors and hospitals possibly having nothing to offer when drug-resistant infections occur. “We are really seeing the emergence of this all over the world,” Dr. Fukuda adds at a recent press conference, “What it means is that all of us, all our family members…when we are most vulnerable and in need of these medicines there is simply the chance that they are not available.”
WHO further reports that there are major gaps in surveillance of drug resistant microorganisms, meaning that many countries’ health officials and agencies do not have accurate data on how prevalent drug resistance actually is in their own country. WHO goes on to express that government and health officials have neglected to address this growing problem across the globe.
Drug resistance occurs when a microorganism such as bacteria or fungi no longer responds to a drug treatment it was originally or previously sensitive to. What causes this is overuse and misuse of prescribed antibiotics; something WHO has attempted to warn about for years.
In 2013, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that each year at least 2 million people become infected with drug-resistant bacteria in the U.S., with at least 23,000 of these infections leading to death.
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