Superbug Nightmare: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria May Kill 10 Million Per Year by 2050
World health organizations have expressed alarm at the continued spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, also known as ‘superbugs’. In the U.S., the problem has become a major source of concern inside and outside of hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show 23,000 Americans die from superbug infections every year.
For the last 70 years, various antibiotics have been used to treat bacterial infections in patients. Unfortunately, bacteria have evolved to become immune to antibiotics. When patients are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria, treatment becomes more difficult. Doctors may try a treatment using a specific antibiotic, only to discover it has become ineffective. New strains of superbugs are resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics, such as colistin. Colistin is only used when all other treatment options have failed to eliminate infections from patients.
Where will these alarming developments take the world? Researchers associated with the British government have suggested superbugs could start killing 10 million people every year by 2050.
The Evolving Battle Between Superbugs and Antibiotics
The global misuse of antibiotics in hospitals and by the agricultural industry have created ideal conditions for the development of more antibiotic resistant superbugs. Superbug growth is especially problematic in the developing world, where antibiotics are often used irresponsibly.
There are restrictions on antibiotic use in the U.S., but this is not the case in countries like India. When American or European tourists make visits to countries like India, they can bring superbugs back.
Superbugs continue to be a major health risk for American hospital patients. The threat posed by superbugs is a reminder that hospitals must take sanitation seriously. Congress has been urged to fund CDC efforts to help combat antibiotic resistant superbugs. In addition, hospitals are being given incentives to develop policies that prevent superbug infections. If these solutions work, one of the greatest threats to patient safety may finally be defeated.
Shapiro Law Group is a Tampa Bay medical malpractice law firm dedicated to helping patients and families hurt by medical wrongdoing.