UK raises alarm on deadly rise of superbugs
Britain is to urge the G8 to take action against the spread of drug-resistant microbes as medical and veterinary experts warn that co-ordinated international action is needed to prevent soaring rates of potentially lethal infections turning into a public health catastrophe.
David Willetts, the science minister, will propose far-reaching measures that would clamp down on the overuse of antibiotics by GPs and hospital doctors. He will also try to restrict usage on farms and fisheries, where the drugs are blended with feed to boost yields.
New wave of ‘superbugs’ poses dire threat, says chief medical officer
If tough measures are not taken to restrict the use of antibiotics and no new ones are discovered, said Dame Sally Davies, “we will find ourselves in a health system not dissimilar to the early 19th century at some point”.
While antibiotics are failing, new bacterial diseases are on the rise. Although the “superbugs” MRSA and C difficile have been reduced to low numbers in hospitals, there has been an alarming increase in other types of bacteria including new strains of E coli and Klebsiella, which causes pneumonia.
New ‘superbug’ found in UK hospitals
They say bacteria that make an enzyme called NDM-1 have travelled back with NHS patients who went abroad to countries like India and Pakistan for treatments such as cosmetic surgery.
Although there have only been about 50 cases identified in the UK so far, scientists fear it will go global.
Are farm animals to blame for the rise of superbugs?
Lettie Head is only 19, but has nearly died twice in the past two years from blood poisoning caused by an anti-biotic-resistant bug she picked up in hospital.
She hadn’t even been ill in the first place — she’d gone into hospital to have her baby delivered by Caesarean section. But not long after her son Zachary was born, she realised something was wrong.
Can we beat the superbugs?
IN THE years since Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have proved to be true wonder drugs, saving millions of lives across the world.
They have been used successfully to treat conditions ranging from serious diseases such as tuberculosis, meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) to childhood ear infections, acne and even back ache.