‘Antibiotic apocalypse’ New diseases and antibiotic resistance major threat to humanity

Dubbed ‘antibiotic apocalypse’, the antibiotic resistant superbugs have become a massive cause for concern for health professionals as their numbers continue to rise. Such is the worry around antibiotic superbugs that experts believe that they will claim 10 million lives by 2050, with 700,000 people dying a year after catching the infections, according to a recent report from the American Chemical Society’s Enviromental Science and Technology Journal. Humans, especially in the West, have become so reliant on antibiotics to help cure illnesses that many of the bacteria that they are trying to fight have become resistant to the drugs through evolution.

On top of this, the amount of new diseases emerging has increased by a factor of four over the last century, according to a research paper titled ‘Global trends in emerging infectious diseases’, which was written in 2008.

The study reads: “Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are a significant burden on global economies and public health. Their emergence is thought to be driven largely by socio-economic, environmental and ecological factors.”

Now, a new book by US journalist Bryan Walsh called ‘End Times’, which is set to be released on August 27, believes these two factors could prove disastrous for humanity.

Mr Walsh wrote in the book: “The number of new infectious diseases like SARS and HIVE has increased by nearly fourfold over the past century, while since 1980 alone the number of outbreaks per year has almost tripled.

“Over the past 50 years we’ve more than doubled the number of people on the planet, which means more human beings to get infected and in turn to infect others, especially in densely populated areas.”

Mr Walsh goes on to say that humanity’s over-reliance on antibiotics since the discovery of penicillin in 1928 is now coming back to back to bite us.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) explained: “Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines.

“Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.”

READ MORE: Medical officer to lead the war against antibiotic-resistent superbug

Mr Walsh continued: “Bacterial resistance to these drugs is growing by the year, a development doctors believe is one of thew greatest threats to global public health.

“Thirty-three thousand people die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections in Europe alone.

“The ‘antibiotic apocalypse’ as England’s chief medical office, Sally Davies, called it, puts us in danger of returning to a time when even run-of-the-mill infections could kill.”

Dr Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and professor of global health, agreed with Mr Walsh’s sentiment, telling him: “We face the globalisation of risk in infectious diseases today.

“In the future that risk will only go up. That is a fact of life.”


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