Antibiotics resistance a 'catastrophic' global threat, UK warns

Resistance to antibiotics is a 'catastrophic' global threat and should be ranked alongside terrorism as one of the biggest risks Britain faces, the government's chief medical officer said Monday.

Sally Davies called the problem a "ticking time-bomb", saying routine hip operations could become deadly within 20 years if humans lose the ability to fight infections.

She said the issue should be put on the government's national risk register, which also includes "catastrophic " and other civil emergencies.

The knighted professor urged Britain to raise the issue at a G8 foreign ministers' meeting in London next month.

"Antimicrobial resistance is a ticking time-bomb not only for the UK but also for the world," Davies said.

"We need to work with everyone to ensure the apocalyptic scenario of widespread antimicrobial resistance does not become a reality.

"This threat is arguably as important as for the world."

She added: "Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat. If we don't act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for and die because of an ordinary infection that can't be treated by .

"Governments and organisations across the world, including the and G8, need to take this seriously."

She said there had been a "discovery void" in the field since 1987 and called for more innovation around antibiotics, saying diseases had evolved faster than the drugs to treat them.

Davies said infection was estimated to be costing England £30 billion ($45 billion, 35 billion euros) per year in state health service costs and the cost of missed days at work.

Britain's Department of Health said it will soon publish its Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy five-year action plan.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A world without antibiotics?

Apr 07, 2011

Imagine a world without antibiotics. Common infections are life threatening. Pneumonia, urinary tract infections and venereal diseases are incurable. Cancer chemotherapies do not exist. The life expectancy for Canadian men ...

The rising threat of antibiotic resistance

Jan 10, 2013

A major European and global health issue is resistance to or inappropriate use of antibiotics. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that each year, antimicrobial resistance ...

Recommended for you

Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

10 hours ago

Sierra Leone began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus on Saturday amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Sierra Leone streets deserted as shutdown begins

Sep 19, 2014

Sierra Leone's normally chaotic capital resembled a ghost town on Friday as residents were confined to their homes for the start of a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the deadly Ebola epidemic.

Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

Sep 19, 2014

Sierra Leone on Friday launched a controversial three-day shutdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus, as the UN Security Council declared the deadly outbreak a threat to world peace.

User comments