A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) setting out ways to fight the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has brought to light the possibility that we are facing an antibiotic crisis that could make routine operations impossible and a scratched knee potentially fatal. AMR occurs when bacteria and viruses adapt to treatments and become resistant to them.
The report also stated that increasing use of antibiotics can lead to the formation of “superbugs” that resist many of the antibiotic types we currently have. It outlined a variety of measures that are vital for ensuring we can still fight infections in the future and described how other major infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV, malaria and influenza, could one day become resistant to today’s treatment options.
However gloomy this news is, Dr Margaret Chan, director general of WHO, said: “much can be done. This includes prescribing antibiotics appropriately and only when needed, following treatment correctly, restricting the use of antibiotics in food production to therapeutic purposes and tackling the problem of substandard and counterfeit medicines.”