Biology

Our last line of defense against antibiotic-resistant bacteria is beginning to fail, says ECDC

Our last line of defense again...
While the incidence of antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria, seen here, is down, the news isn't so good with other bugs
While the incidence of antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria, seen here, is down, the news isn't so good with other bugs
View 1 Image
While the incidence of antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria, seen here, is down, the news isn't so good with other bugs
1/1
While the incidence of antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria, seen here, is down, the news isn't so good with other bugs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, every year about two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to anything we can throw at them and of those, at least 23,000 die. Now the European equivalent to the CDC, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has just reported on how well the EU is doing in the battle to keep deadly bugs at bay. And the news isn't great.

The announcement was released to coincide with today's marking of the 9th annual European Antibiotic Awareness Day, an effort to bring awareness to the fact that overprescribing antibiotics can create superbugs that we are powerless to fight.

While the report found an overall increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the ECDC says that of particular concern was the fact that the average percentage of carbapenem resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae increased from 6.2 percent in 2012 to 8.1 percent in 2015. K. pneumoniae is an opportunistic infection that often attacks people hospitalized for other conditions and "can cause different types of healthcare-associated infections, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis, according to the CDC.

Carbapenems are a class of antibiotics used to attack bacteria that have become resistant to other more common antibiotics. The fact that they are now failing in greater number is a cause for concern.

"Antibiotic resistance is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time," said Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. "If we don't tackle it, we can go back to a time when even the simplest medical operations were not possible, and organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy or intensive care even less so."

Not all of the news was dire, however. ECDC Acting Director, Dr. Andrea Ammon said that antibiotic consumption was down in six countries. Also, the percentage of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that was resistant to the antibiotic meticillin decreased significantly between 2012 and 2015, says the agency, which is taking new initiatives to spread the word about antibiotic resistance.

"The European Commission will launch a new action plan next year so that we can, together with our partners in the EU Member States and internationally, continue to ensure that the prevention and control of antibiotic resistance is strengthened within a one-health approach," said Andriukaitis.

In addition to that initiative, the ECDC is hosting a global Twitter conversation today using the hashtags #AntibioticResistance and #EAAD2016. It also has posted today's presentation entitled "European Antibiotic Awareness Day: The future is now," on its YouTube channel.

If you'd like to add even more worry to your day, you can also get a look at antibiotic resistance across the globe by germ and drug on the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy's interactive map.

Source: ECDC

10 comments
Jonathan Colvin
farmers using these last resort antibiotics in livestock .... should not be allowed
guzmanchinky
I'm surprised that we still haven't found some kind of Achilles's heel for bacteria and viruses, given our ever expanding abilities to read genetic code.
Robert in Vancouver
Instead of wasting trillions of dollars on unproven theories like 'man-made' global warming we should be spending it to solve real problems that kill thousands of real people every day such as drug resistant bacteria, cancer, and malaria.
Blanche Pwitch
How much do the current food additives and the Glyphosate used in growing crops and killing weeds affect our health and antibiotic resistance?
Rocky Stefano
@guzmanchinky . Trust me, the FDA knows about new medecine. Its all about money and the circle of life. At the end of the day, the economy needs people to die. Look at cancer, there are cures available. Check this HBO special and ask yourself why the government isn't pushing these cancer cures out to people? 2 reasons. The first, like I mentioned, is that they need people to die, the second is money/politics. Glaxo is the largest producer of chemo drugs in the world. Each therapy nets the oncologist $4000USD. Take an average doc with 100 patients doing a therapy a month. That's 400k a month. I'm being conservative. There's an entire industry built around cancer and similar diseases. What are they going to do bring the cure out and kill the billions in donations hospitals receive each year? What about the charities? What about the millions employed worldwide in the FIGHT for cancer? Its like oil. They could enact a law tomorrow forcing every car in the US to be electric but they won't because its going to take 200 years to phase that industry out and give the giants a chance to replace their revenue streams. Here's that HBO video @ https://youtu.be/FlK-PeCfezM
BlaneSibille
have a look at nano or colloidal silver. it's cheap, maybe too cheap for big pharma.
Elias
I have been hearing the same old story since the 1980's that we are running out of effective antibiotics. Doctors do order far too many antibiotics. Patients expect them. However scientists keep developing new drugs.
JoeFrederick
According to the FDA, 80% of all antibiotics are used in agriculture, with 74% being the same drugs as humans use, while the Union of Concerned Scientists found in 2001 that almost 90% were being used in agriculture. When we eat dosed meat, we get a dose too. This is the primary reason that antibiotics have been losing their effectiveness in the USA. Europe banned such usage in 2006, and the USA should have joined them in that effort. Now is as good a time as any.
EddieLime1ecf3b6ad79459d
I have been using my own urine for 15 years, have not been to see a doctor for illness for at least 12 years. No long takes any supplement. Saved me thousands of dollars already. It is called Urine Therapy and I am not afraid of cancer, Alzheimer, Parkinsons and dozens of other illnesses. Others may ridicule UT but I am the beneficiary of my UT therapy.
Paul Muad'Dib
If you don't believe in evolution than antibiotic resistant bacteria can't hurt you, or at least that's what you should believe.