The over-use of antibiotics in food and at doctors’ offices could spell big problems for mankind in the coming decades.
This week, the first global plan to combat those illnesses, or antimicrobial diseases, was released.
The study, which was completed in the United Kingdom, is called the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.
The review suggests things like pharmaceutical companies investing more into a drugs that can help fight off these super bugs, and creating a global campaign to explain the dangers of over using antibiotics.
Microbiologists at RIT have known about the dangers of antibiotic resistant diseases for years.
“It’s a growing problem, and it’s an issue that we’re slowly losing our grip on because of the antibiotic resistance issue and the over-prescription and overuse of them in a lot of different areas,” said Associate Professor of Microbiology at RIT, Dr. Robert C. Osgood. “And so it’s problem that needs to go away.”
Antibiotics in food, and a perception that antibiotics can cure almost anything, are two big reasons for diseases growing immune to antibiotics.
“The concept that antibiotics help is often when they’re prescribed in the setting of a viral illness,” said Monroe County Interim Commissioner of Public Health Michael Mendoza. “People get better anyway, and they attribute it to the antibiotic.”
Researchers and doctors in Rochester are excited that there is a call to fight these potential super bugs.
“It’s great to see that’s it’s reached a priority level, to where money is being made available for people to research possible solutions to it,” Dr. Osgood said.
The review states antimicrobial resistant diseases could kill more people in the year 2050 than cancer.
Locally, researchers say something needs to be done to prevent these diseases from mutating.
“You can get to the point where you don’t have a lot of treatment options left, and we have a few actual organisms that have unfortunately already reached that status to where they are very difficult, if not impossible to treat,” said Osgood.
Work is being done to prevent antimicrobial diseases from spreading, but both an international review and professionals in the medical field in Rochester agree – it’s not enough.
The CDC says every year roughly 23,000 people die in the country due to antimicrobial resistant diseases.