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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:36 PM

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a genuine threat we must all fight

More people died of infections than cancer in 2010. This stark fact highlights the danger from rise in antibiotic resistance in bacteria, a danger the chief medical officer warned MPs about again this week.

For billions of years, certain bacteria have produced chemicals that protect them from attack by other microorganisms. Some of these chemicals make up the antibiotics used in medicine today. Unfortunately, bacteria are survival experts and have developed ways of resisting the toxic effect of these drugs. In fact, most of the resistance that is around today developed many years ago, either in the local environment, or in people and animals. Global travel is a major contributor to the increasing spread of such bacteria, exacerbating previously manageable problems of resistance.

It may sound improbable, but by the time a person becomes an adult, there are more bacterial cells in the body than human cells. It is easy to see that some of these billions of bacteria may have natural genetic mutations that bestow antibiotic resistance. Taking antibiotics creates "selective pressure" where sensitive bacteria are killed leaving a gap in which any resistant bacteria can flourish. Most frequently, resistant bacteria are spread from person to person via direct contact, environmental surfaces, water and food, but it is clear that taking antibiotics unnecessarily also presents its own risks. What can be done to improve our current scenario of bad bugs-few drugs?

There is no easy answer, but several steps can be taken. Governments, drug companies, doctors, patients and the walking well all have a role to play. Apart from two agents, no truly novel types of antibiotic have come onto the market for 40 years. It is difficult and expensive to develop such medicines and because they are taken for short courses, unlike cardiovascular or cancer drugs, they do not generally generate a high income for a pharmaceutical company.


Antibiotic resistance is now as serious a threat as terrorism and could trigger an 'apocalyptic scenario', warns UK's top doctor

Growing numbers of drug-resistant diseases could trigger an ‘apocalyptic scenario’ comparable to a catastrophic terrorist attack, Britain’s chief medical officer warned yesterday.

Dame Sally Davies said there was risk that within 20 years people going for simple operations would die of routine infections because we may ‘run out of antibiotics’ that work.

She told MPs the threat from infections that are resistant to antibiotics was so serious that the issue should be added to the Government’s national risk register of civil emergencies.

The register was established in 2008 to advise the public and businesses on national emergencies that Britain could face in the next five years.

The highest priority risks on the latest register include a deadly flu outbreak and catastrophic terrorist attacks.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2267567/Antibiotic-resistance-terrorism-trigger-apocalyptic-scenario-warns-UKs-doctor.html#ixzz2IwWx4Rdh

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Reply Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a genuine threat we must all fight (Original post)
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 OP
siligut Jan 2013 #1
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #2

Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:36 AM

1. Microbes will be the last survivors

Climate change will only help them.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:29 AM

2. I'm a lot more worried about nuclear terrorism than a pandemic at this point.....


Sure, TBH, a pandemic isn't impossible by any means, though, sadly, discussion of the subject is often ripe with hyperbole.....

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