Health Ranger on Superbugs
99,000 Americans a year killed by superbugs, says CDC
Meanwhile, superbugs are killing Americans at a rate that rivals wartime casualties. A decade ago, the CDC estimated that superbugs infected 1.7 million Americans and killed 99,000 Americans each year (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nih-superbug-ou…).
That’s about twice the number of Americans killed in the entire Vietnam War, by the way. And those numbers are a decade old. By many accounts, the superbug problem is far worse now than it was ten years ago. For example, superbug infections among newborns have risen over 300% in a similar timeframe (http://www.naturalnews.com/026587_infections_infection_superbug.html).
Why are infections getting worse? Because over the last decade, superbugs have evolved. Nature has found resistance to nearly every known antibiotic on the market: Tetracyclines, Fluoroquinolones, Cephalosporins, Sulfonamides and more.
Just how bad is the situation? Even Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, couldn’t deny the reality of the situation. “Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill,” she said in a recent keynote address (http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2012/amr_20120314/en/index.html). “Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise in Europe, and elsewhere in the world. We are losing our first-line antimicrobials… For patients infected with some drug-resistant pathogens, mortality has been shown to increase by around 50%,” she said.
Chan also warned about the severity of the problem:
Many other pathogens are developing resistance to multiple drugs, some to nearly all. Hospitals have become hotbeds for highly-resistant pathogens, like MRSA, ESBL, and CPE, increasing the risk that hospitalization kills instead of cures. These are end-of-the-road pathogens that are resistant to last-line antimicrobials.
If current trends continue unabated, the future is easy to predict. Some experts say we are moving back to the pre-antibiotic era. No. This will be a post-antibiotic era. In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry, especially for gram-negative bacteria. The cupboard is nearly bare.
Prospects for turning this situation around look dim. A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it.