Tuesday, 27 February, 2024
HomeFocusAntibiotic resistance bigger than Aids epidemic – WHO

Antibiotic resistance bigger than Aids epidemic – WHO

In the most comprehensive picture of drug resistance across the globe, with data from 114 countries, the [b]World Health Organisation[/b] warns of a crisis bigger and more urgent that the Aids epidemic of the 1980s. [s]The Daily Telegraph[/s] reports that in [i]Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance[/i], the WHO’s Dr Keiji Fukuda writes: ‘A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.’ Modern medicine, from the treatment of urinary tract infections and pneumonia in babies to chemotherapy and kidney dialysis are under threat. The report focuses on antibiotic resistance in seven different bacteria responsible for common, serious diseases such as sepsis, diarrhoea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea.

Drug resistance is driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages bacteria to develop new ways of overcoming them. [s]Moneyweb[/s] quotes Laura Piddock, director of the [b]Antibiotic Action[/b] campaign group as saying: ‘Defeating drug resistance will require political will, commitment from all stakeholders and considerable investment in research, surveillance and stewardship programmes.’ Jennifer Cohn of [b]Médecins Sans Frontières[/b] agreed with the WHO’s assessment and confirmed the problem had spread to many corners of the world. ‘We see horrendous rates of antibiotic resistance wherever we look in our field operations,’ she said.

[s]Health-e[/s] writes that the rWHO-led global effort to address drug resistance will involve the development of tools and standards, and improved collaboration to track drug resistance, measure its health and economic impacts, and design targeted solutions. Ordinary people can help by using antibiotics only when prescribed by a doctor, completing the full prescription, even if they feel better and never sharing antibiotics. According to Health director general Precious Matsoso, SA is in the process of setting up a [b]Ministerial Advisory Committee[/b], including representatives from the public and private sector, to help the health department to deal with drug-resistance.

Antibiotic resistance has a knock-on effect by causing people to be sick for longer and making them more likely to die, the WHO said. A case in point, says a [s]Health24[/s] report, is MRSA – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – which has grabbed headlines due to a rash of outbreaks at hospitals. Patients with MRSA are 64% more likely to die than those with a non-resistant form, the WHO said. Resistance also raises health costs because of longer hospital stays and more intensive care.

A study by the [b]US Centres for Disease Control[/b] has found that five children died at the [b]New Orleans Children’s Hospital[/b] in 2008 and 2009 after coming in contact with a deadly fungus transmitted through the linens they slept on, reports [s]Nola[/s]. Last year, a study in the [s]Journal of Patient Safety[/s] indicated that between 210,000 and 440,000 hospitalised patients each year suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, including hospital-acquired infections.

[link url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10797764/Antibiotic-crisis-bigger-than-Aids-as-common-infections-will-kill-WHO-warns.html]Full report in The Daily Telegraph[/link]
[link url=http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/112642/1/9789241564748_eng.pdf?ua=1]WHO report[/link]
[link url=http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-health-and-science/superbugs-that-can-overpower-antibiotics-are-spread]Full Moneyweb report[/link]
[link url=http://www.health-e.org.za/2014/05/01/world-brink-post-antibiotic-era]Full Health-e report[/link]
[link url=http://www.health24.com/Medical/Heartburn/News/Antibiotic-resistance-turns-diseases-into-killers-20140430]Full Health24 report[/link]
[link url=http://www.nola.com/health/index.ssf/2014/04/childrens_hospital_investigate.html]Full Nola report[/link]
[link url=http://journals.lww.com/pidj/pages/default.aspx]Paediatric Infectious Disease Journal abstract[/link]
[link url=http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2013&issue=09000&article=00002&type=Fulltext#P68]Journal of Patient Safety abstract[/link]

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