Antibiotic resistance: A risk as big as Terrorism
Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a microorganism to Withstand the effects of an antibiotic. There is a growing recognition that action must be taken to deal with the alarming rise in the incidence of bacteria resistant for today‘s antibiotics. “The more we use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it.”
Recently, Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government’s chief medical officer for England has alarmed the world about the new threat of antimicrobial resistance in future.
Some information from her warning to the world;
Antimicrobial resistance is “a ticking time-bomb” for the world. The danger posed by growing resistance to antibiotics should be ranked along with terrorism on a list of threats to a nation. Now the world is facing an “apocalyptic scenario” where 7% of all hospital admissions are taking place due to drug resistant infections. Routine operations could become deadly in just 20 years if we lose the ability to fight infection.
If we don’t take action, then we may all be back in an almost 19th Century environment where infections kill us as a result of routine operations. We won’t be able to do a lot of our cancer treatments or organ transplants. A new infectious disease has been discovered every year for the last 30 years but there have been almost no new classes of antibiotics discovered since l987. There are very few antibiotics in development.
Dame Sally has urged the British government to raise the issue during next G8 Summit in London.
Her Recommendations to tackle the problem:
- New infection control measures should go beyond hospitals and be applied to home and community care settings.
- The national approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance should not just focus on humans and the risk of antimicrobial resistance in animals should be managed closely.
- Further promotion of the benefits of vaccination and encouragement of vaccine uptake during pregnancy to prevent diseases should be undertaken.
- Directors of Public Health should work with schools to ensure the school nursing system is well-placed to deliver new immunization programmes.
- “Some useful education” on antimicrobial resistance should be given to medical students and doctors; to ensure fewer antibiotics are prescribed, so that they are used only when needed.
Do you know?
In 2000, six percent of serious bloodstream infections of E- coli were resistant to the powerful antibiotic ciprofloxacin. That has now risen to 21%.
Penicillin is no longer effective against wound infections caused by staphylococcus.
Doctors are alarmed by the emergence of an untreatable form of the sexually-transmitted infection, gonorrhoea.
This article by V. Vinitharan (33rd Batch), was appeared in the First MSU Newsletter publishedin September 2013.