Superbugs may claim 10 million lives per year by 2050

A new report commissioned by the U.K. government and published by Public Health England looked at the threat of antimicrobial resistance.  The report sets out a strategy through 2018 for addressing antimicrobial resistance.  The report authors explain that antibiotics play a critical role in treating and preventing infections, but ignoring the threat of antimicrobial resistance will lead to untreatable infections.

BBC News explains that, unaddressed, antimicrobial resistance will account for an additional 10 million deaths per year by 2050 and that will come at a global cost of $100 trillion.  Given the prevalence of global travel, bacteria and viruses can easily spread around the world.  It is important to consider antimicrobial resistance as an international problem that cannot be solved by one country’s measures alone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also emphasized the importance of combating antimicrobial resistance.  In fact, the WHO notes that a world in which common infections and minor injuries is not just a post-apocalyptic story seen in Hollywood, but could become a reality.  One of the important first steps is to set up a coordinated global surveillance program to monitor and evaluate the issue.

Antimicrobial resistant infections are also known as superbugs, report the National Institutes of the Health.  Each year drug-resistant bacteria infect more than 2 million people in the U.S. and kill at least 23,000.  This is due to the fact that antibiotics have become so commonly used that they are losing their punch as bacteria and viruses adapt to survive.  Antibiotics are often prescribed to humans and livestock, but they are not necessarily needed.  Limiting and reducing antibiotic use can help mitigate the problem of antimicrobial resistance.

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