WHO says antibiotic resistant 'superbugs' now global threat
The World Health Organization released a report Wednesday about the effectiveness of modern medicines and it's generating some scary headlines, like these from Al Jazeera, NBC, the BBC and Time.
"The world may be heading to a post antibiotic era. Modern medicines can no longer stand up to common infections like pneumonia, E. coli and MRSA."
"Why? Well, it's the overuse of antibiotics and it has made us dangerously prone to all kinds of infections."
The WHO says antibiotic resistance has now become a world-wide threat - which means even the smallest infections could be untreatable in the future unless "significant" measures are taken.
The report points to disease-carriers like parasites, viruses and bacteria that are becoming immune to our drugs. Most notably: bacteria which causes urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections and gonorrhea.
In particular, in 2012, WHO reported 450,000 cases of tuberculosis in 92 countries where multiple drugs used to treat it were rendered useless.
And, gonorrhea may eventually have no treatment at all because no vaccines or new drugs are in the works.
WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Keiji Fukuda, seen in this UN video, said they're collaborating with several organizations to promote proper use of antibiotics, which, as we mentioned earlier, is a big part of the problem.
"Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections ... the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating."
Health experts have known of a potential global pandemic for awhile – the spread of these so-called "Super Bugs."
Last year, Britain's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sally Davies - who's widely-cited and even gave a TED Talk about it - described the problem to outlets like The Telegraph as a "ticking time bomb" and that it's arguably "as important as climate change."
"This is an increasing issue. We're seeing multiple drugs' resistance as well, particular in TB, where patients become almost untreatable."
WHO emphasized proper hygiene, clean water use and using only the antibiotics prescribed by certified health professionals as small steps you can take to prevent infections and resistance.