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Antibiotic Resistance: A Serious Threat

by Kimberly Hays March 16th, 2017 | Medication
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pillsAntibiotic resistance has become a major concern internationally. Health officials say that there is a tremendous void globally in the development of new antibiotics, and new medications must be developed to fight off mutating infections. As bacterial infections mutate, they become “superbugs” that do not respond to the antibiotics that are currently available. There have been only a few new antibiotics developed in the past decade, and it is a race against time for new ones to be developed to stop this worldwide crisis.

This is a serious concern for patients who are having even the most minor of surgeries. The risk is elevated for dying from infections that no antibiotic treatment will cure. Of course, this poses an even higher risk to those who have organ transplants and other major surgeries. Most of us have heard of MRSA, which is an antibiotic “superbug” that has been estimated to kill approximately 19,000 people in the United States every year, with similar standings in Europe. This far exceeds the number of deaths from HIV and AIDS in both countries.

The alarming statistics do not end there. More antibiotic resistant strains of infection are spreading. A form of tuberculosis that is drug resistant has turned up in the past few years, as well as a new “superbug” that first emerged in India that is now showing up worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are also antibiotic resistant strains of gonorrhea that are quickly spreading worldwide.

For now, while researchers and pharmaceutical companies work on the development of new drugs, health officials are not prescribing antibiotics except only when necessary. We used to be given an antibiotic for many things that can often be cured by allowing it to run its course. We also should be very conscious of hygiene as well to keep infections down to a minimum.

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