WHO Report on Antibiotic Resistance

World Health Organization Report

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning that increasing bacterial resistance could mean that some diseases can kill again after almost a century.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, even the strongest antibiotics, which are considered the last resort, are no longer effective in the treatment of bacterial infections. This could, after many decades, soon lead to, among other things, some diseases becoming fatal again.

Today, we no longer calculate the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics in units of percent, as, for example, in the eighties of the last century, but in tens of percent! The latest WHO conclusions are based on extensive data from more than a hundred countries and are truly alarming. In some diseases, resistance already reaches more than fifty percent and thus become very difficult to treat.

This fact is also confirmed by Jennifer Cohn from Médecins Sans Frontières, who is convinced that it is absolutely necessary to put into practice a global plan to rationalize the use of antibiotics. "Whether we look into any of our medical missions, we see incredible numbers in terms of antibiotic resistance... Without detailed information, local doctors cannot imagine the true nature of the problem and cannot treat correctly", thinks Cohnová.

Unfortunately, the situation is very serious even in developed countries, where there is a huge overuse of antibiotics, and this is what accelerates the ability of bacteria to be immune to antibiotics even more. The whole situation is very worrying and is underestimated not only by patients, but also by doctors, who often prescribe antibiotics completely unnecessarily, "just to be sure" or prescribe antibiotics without having a laboratory-based sensitivity to the type of antibiotic prescribed. This often leads to the fact that the first antibiotics are not effective and the doctor prescribes another one. In this way, the bacteria are de facto trained to survive, exactly in the spirit of the motto "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger".

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The WHO is beating a retreat and we can only hope that it will not be too late to take steps to turn the situation around. It will be absolutely necessary to prescribe antibiotics only to the absolutely necessary extent and purposefully, not by the "trial and error" method. The whole thing certainly does not make light of the overuse or even the preventive use of antibiotics in animal production. Animals today are literally fed antibiotics, which means further increasing the resistance of bacteria, which learn to coexist with antibiotics under weak but sustained exposure without it being fatal for them.

Unfortunately, another bad news comes from the laboratories, when scientists delivered the last really new kind of antibiotics in the eighties of the last century and since then there are only variations that are not too much of an obstacle for the bacteria, variations that, paradoxically, in the longer term, the bacteria can again only strengthen their resistance.

If we don't act immediately on a global scale, i.e. on the entire planet, then most of us may live to see an incredibly bitter return 100 years ago, when some diseases that are no problem today will become deadly again, as they were in the time of our great-grandmothers. Today, it is already extremely difficult to find the right antibiotic for e.g. gonorrhea or pneumonia. However, it can be even worse, not only from the point of view of the expanding portfolio of diseases for which it will be increasingly difficult to find suitable antibiotics, but also from the point of view of the ever-increasing resistance to even the strongest antibiotics. Already in the near future, we can face a similar situation as in the case of the spread of AIDS in the eighties, but it can be even worse, when it can become quite common for the patient to die from postoperative infections or other infections that are now quite commonly treated with antibiotics.

You can read the entire report of the World Health Organization on this topic, although unfortunately not in Czech, here.

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