Superbugs will make routine operations deadly


An editorial in influential journal The Lancet has warned that antimicrobial resistant ‘superbugs’ are out of control and will soon represent a catastrophe for modern healthcare services and patients, meaning that simple operations will once again become dangerous.

The piece quotes figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which indicate that antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats — for example, in the US, 23,000 deaths each year are said to occur as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant organisms, with the editorial stressing that this is a conservative estimate.

So-called antibiotic-resistant superbugs evolve when organisms develop new ways to combat the antibiotics in circulation and mean that new drugs constantly need to be designed. However, there has been a slow-down of new medicines entering the system as antibiotics have ceased to be profitable.

The Lanceteditorial highlights that in the future, antimicrobial-resistant organisms could make operations such as transplants and routine medical procedures dangerous once again.

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Picture: NIAID@flickr

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