The postantibiotic era

March 2, 2013
For many years now there has been concern and even outcry of the overuse of antibiotics in medicine and food. The result has been multiple bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics. The most well known is MRSA or methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus. Other bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic therapy include strains of enterococcus, streptococcus, pseudomonas, clostridium, salmonella, E coli, and more. Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, recently spoke at the Combating Antimicrobial Resistance conference in Copenhagen, “We are losing our first-line antimicrobials. Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units,” she said. Indeed, the CDC estimates between 1.7 to 2 million people get a secondary infection from a hospital stay resulting in 99,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. Chan said that hospitals are becoming “a hotbed for highly resistant pathogens increasing the risk that hospitalization kills instead of cures.” Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “If we don't improve our response to the public health problem of antibiotic resistance, we may enter a post-antibiotic world in which we will have few or no clinical interventions for some infections.” 

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