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Antibiotic resistance a worry, spreading fast: WHO

Antibiotic resistance happens when a disease causing bacteria mutates (changes its DNA).

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 1, 2014 2:46:57 am

Antibiotic resistance is more serious than perceived and is spreading across the world, says a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report. The report on WHO’s first worldwide study of antibiotic resistance says what was perceived as a big danger of the future is a major public health threat taking place right now, on an alarming scale, in several countries, affecting people across all age groups.

Antibiotic resistance happens when a disease causing bacteria mutates (changes its DNA). It can make commonly curable infections and injuries lethal and can have a devastating effect on the global health scene, according to Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security.

“Without urgent, coordinated action by stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries treatable for decades can once again kill. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and 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,” said Dr Keiji Fukuda.

The report, “Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance” focuses on antibiotic resistance in seven bacteria responsible for common but serious diseases such as bloodstream infections (sepsis), diarrhoea and urinary tract infection. Resistance to one of the most widely used antibacterial medicine, fluoroquinolones, for urinary tract infections was widespread. In the 1980s, when these drugs were introduced, resistance was zero. Today, there are many countries where this treatment is ineffective in more than half of patients.

The report emphasised policy level interventions and monitoring of antibiotic use.

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