New, drug-resistant disease threaten medical advances
As bacteria has evolved to be immune to medicine, mankind face perilous future
Medical advances made with antibiotics are now being threatened by "super bugs," diseases which are immune to current medications. Experts warn that the health of collective humanity is at stake.
Anti-microbial resistance has a well-known growing threat. National health systems, already under pressure from aging populations, will now have to deal with the rising cost of caring for people in the "post-antibiotic era."
AFTER THE UNSPEAKABLE, WE SPEAK HOPE. Support Catholic Online's response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. DONATE NOW ...
"I am concerned that in 20 years, if I go into hospital for a hip replacement, I could get an infection leading to major complications and possible death, simply because antibiotics no longer work as they do now," England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor John Watson says.
As more antibiotics circulate, more bacteria is able to evolve to resist them. General practitioners have been handing them out to their patients like candy in the manner of Santa Clauses at Christmastime. Drug development kept pace with evolving microbes, with a constant production line of new classes of antibiotics. These drugs have since ceased to be profitable. A new class of antibiotics has not been created since 1987.
England's chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies warns that death rates from bacterial infections "might return to those of the early 20th century."
"Rarely has modern medicine faced such a grave threat. Without antibiotics, treatments from minor surgery to major transplants could become impossible, and health-care costs are likely to spiral as we resort to newer, more expensive antibiotics and sustain longer hospital admissions."
Suggestions to run back this tide include cutting the amount of antibiotics prescribed, improving hospital hygiene and creating incentives for the pharmaceutical industry to work on novel antibiotics and antibiotic alternatives.
However - the public must shoulder some responsibility. "The change needs to come in patient expectation. We need public education: that not every ill needs a pill," Dr. Peter Swinyard, chairman of the Family Doctor Association says.
"We try hard not to prescribe, but it's difficult in practice. The patient will be dissatisfied with your consultation, and is likely to vote with their feet, register somewhere else or go to the walk-in center and get antibiotics from the nurse.
"But if we go into a post-antibiotic phase, we may find that people with pneumonia will not be treatable with an antibiotic, and will die, whereas at the moment they would live.
"People need to realize the link. If you treat little Johnny's ear infection with antibiotics, his mummy may end up dying of pneumonia. It's stark and it's, of course, not direct, but on a population-wide level, that's the kind of link we're talking about."
A birth foretold: click here to learn more!
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Malaria cases spread to higher elevations
- Alzheimer's to join cancer, heart disease as one of America's top fatal conditions
- Birthing centers not provided for under health care reform
- Lots of proteins can BE BAD FOR YOU! 'As bad for health as smoking,' new study finds
- OUTBREAK: 53 people in 10 states stricken with measles
- Popular overdose drug rises in cost, to keep up with demand
- ANCIENT SCOURGE: leprosy, still very much alive in the world today, goes back 10 million years
- CONTROVERSY: Is dyslexia a 'meaningless label' to excuse bad reading skills?
- Horrid polio-like disease stalking children in California, may be very widespread
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?