Superbugs are a global health threat killing hundreds of thousands a year and they need to be eradicated before we are, experts say.
Superbugs are microorganisms that have evolved to be resistant to antibiotics.
They are able to mutate and outsmart modern drugs creating deadly bacterial infections.
In toronto health, York University science professor Dasantila Golemi-Kotra said this has become a problem for the past two decades, in part, because of the over use of antibiotics.
She says all pathogenic strains are now resistant.
“The problem is (superbugs) become resistant and it becomes a challenge to treat the patient and could threaten the life of the patient,” Golemi-Kotra said.
“If we fail to address this problem quickly and comprehensively, antimicrobial resistance will make providing high quality universal health coverage more difficult, if not impossible,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said last week in a statement.
He noted 200,000 newborns die each year from infections that don’t respond to the antibiotics that once served as a cure.
The World Health Organization says in the decades to come, antibiotic resistant superbugs could kill millions.
If left unchecked, superbugs would make treatments like chemotherapy dangerous — and even routine dental procedures risky.
WHO says there must be better vaccines developed to prevent infections to reduce the need for drugs, including antibiotics.
The WHO says 700,000 people die each year because of antibiotic resistant bacteria, a number the organizations says will continue to grow.
Golemi-Kotra added that in the United States, 2 million people get sick each year from a serious bacterial illness and in Canada the number of patients becoming ill is roughly 200,000 annually.
“These patients have to stay longer in hospital for treatment and it’s an economic burden. It does cause death but the percentage isn’t that high. About two to 10% of patients die, but the numbers are higher if a person has complications,” Golemi-Kotra said.
People with underlying conditions such as cancer of HIV are most at risk of dying from superbugs.
“If you don’t find the right treatment to fight resistant strains, it is a big problem. If it’s not found right away (the patient) could die,” Golemi-Kotra said.
She said research is needed to target what makes the bacteria so virulent.
“Work is being done to target the attachment abilities of the bacteria so they can’t attack human cells. That way a person could get the bacteria and not get sick from them,” Golemi-Kotra said.
“Bacteria have been around since the beginning of time and have had everything thrown at them. They will evolve no matter what we throw at them.”
She said needed research isn’t being done because pharmaceutical companies find the work too cost prohibitive.
Another problem is the public thinks antibiotics will make a host of problems go away and they are over prescribed.
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