Is the World Entering a Drug Resistant Era?

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Experts say drug-resistant diseases are now a major threat to global health, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.

A combination of antibiotic misuse and poor hospital hygiene is causing once treatable diseases to evolve into uncurable "superbugs."

The WHO is now calling on the world to respond, saying if it doesn't, the implications could be devastating.

"We have a big problem now, and all of the trends indicate the problem is going to get bigger," Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director-general for health security, said.

"The world is headed for a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill," Fukuda added.

"Defeating drug resistance will require political will, commitment from all stakeholders, and considerable investment in research, surveillance, and stewardship programs," Laura Piddock, director of the Antibiotic Action campaign group and a professor of microbiology at Britain's Birmingham University, said.

She also warned that the antibiotic resistance problem requires the same global attention that the AIDS crisis garnered in the 1980s.

Jennifer Cohn, with the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders, said her experiences in the field also points to a global epidemic.

WHO suggest the following:

1. Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a doctor.

2. Always complete the full prescription.

3. Never share antibiotics with others or use leftover prescriptions.

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