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WHO warns against risk of superbugs

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report stating that problems relating to bacterial resistance to antibodies are a major threat to public health. The report cites abuse of antibiotics as a factor.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has#link:http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/amr-report/en/:issued a report# stating that problems relating to bacterial resistance to antibodies are a major threat to public health. The report indicates this stems in part from abuse of antibiotics.

The report from WHO, released on Wednesday in Geneva, looked at antimicrobial resistance – the ability of bacteria to adapt so that drugs are no longer effective. According to the organization, the problem of bacteria growing resistance to existing treatment is already acute globally.

"Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, 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," said the WHO's assistant director-general for health safety, Keiji Fukuda.

While the report noted that many different infectious agents are developing resistances, the focus was on antibiotic resistance in seven different bacteria responsible for common, serious diseases such as bloodstream infections (sepsis), diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhea.

The findings suggest resistance to antibiotics is growing in all regions of the world.

The WHO indicated that better hygiene, access to clean water, infection control in health-care facilities, and vaccination would help solve the problem by reducing the need for antibiotics in the first place.

It recommended that people can help tackling antibiotic resistance by taking only antibiotics that are prescribed by a doctor, completing a full prescription (even with improved condition), and never sharing antibiotics.

mz/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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