WiRED Notes Dramatic Upsurge in Antibiotic Use Leading to Increased Risk of
Deadly Infections

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW; EDITED BY BERNICE BORN

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veruse and misuse of antibiotics lead to antibiotic resistance (AR). WiRED International cautions that without urgent attention and action, many modern medicines could become obsolete, turning even common infections into deadly threats.

 

According to an article in The Guardian, public health experts are calling for strategies to control antibiotic use. Despite efforts to encourage wiser use of antibiotics, an international team of researchers found a 65% rise in worldwide consumption of the drugs during the years from 2000 to 2015. The sharp upturn, revealed in sales figures from 76 countries, was driven almost entirely by rising use in poorer nations, the study found.

 

What is AR? AR occurs when bacteria change and make antibiotics fail. The main causes behind AR include over-prescribing of antibiotics, patients not taking antibiotics as prescribed, unnecessary antibiotics used in agriculture, poor infection control in hospitals and clinics, poor hygiene and sanitation practices, and lack of rapid laboratory tests.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn of the global threat of AR. For example, in India, more than 58,000 babies died in one year as a result of infection with resistant bacteria usually passed on from their mothers; in the United States, AR causes 23,000+ deaths per year and more than 2 million illnesses.

 

All WiRED educational programs on infectious disease reference the correct use of antibiotics. Researchers at CDC say nearly one-third of the antibiotic prescriptions written every year in the United States are unnecessary and are only helping to create drug-resistant superbugs. WiRED urges everyone to get informed about antibiotic use.

 

 


Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

Do take antibiotics only when prescribed and exactly as prescribed. Don’t stop taking antibiotics until you have finished them.
Do practice good hygiene, such as keeping hands and cuts clean with handwashing or alcohol-based hand rubs (especially after touching animals), covering coughs, staying home when sick and getting recommended vaccines. Don’t save an antibiotic for later; don’t share the drugs with someone else or accept them from anyone other than a healthcare provider.
Do talk to your healthcare provider about when antibiotics will and won’t help, what infection an antibiotic is treating, how long antibiotics are needed and what side effects might happen. Don’t handle or eat raw or uncooked food.

 

 

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