New Report Says Antibiotic Resistance is Major Threat to Public Health

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The World Health Organization says without urgent action, the world is headed for a era where common infections and minor injuries can lead to death.

In it's first ever report on antibiotic resistance, WHO says "Superbug" infections are widespread, and have become a worldwide public health threat.

The report says bacteria responsible for common serious diseases like pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea have become resistant to antibiotic treatments.

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Assistant DIrector-General for the World Health Organization says, " This is not a regional phenomena, this is not a phenomena occurring in just poor countries, or just developing countries, or in rich countries or developed countries. this is something which is occurring in all countries in the world."

Concern seems to be spreading as fast as the "Superbugs" themselves. Dr. Daniel Havlichek, Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at Michigan State University said, "We have resistant bacteria in Lansing to the point where we're concerned about it." This may be just the tip of the iceberg. Its very possible, that some people could die from infections that otherwise wouldn't if we had more effective treatments."

Havlicheck says the problem is much worse in countries where antibiotics are available over the counter. "Somebody can have a cold, somebody can even have tuberculosis and walk up to a pharmacy and just get antibiotics for the tuberculosis. There's no supervision, they don't necessarily have to take them for the full course, and then they can get resistant T.B."

Doctors say the scary thing about "Superbugs" is they spread very quickly from person to person. With so many people traveling globally these days, it has become a public health threat." Havlicheck says, "Frankly, there's not a lot that I'm aware of right now, short of good hygiene and good infection control practices, that will help people avoid this. Of course don't take an antibiotic if you don't need it."

WHO studied data regarding 7 diseases in 114 countries. The organization says it will lead a global effort to track drug resistance, and come up with solutions.