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WHO: Drug-Resistant Bacteria Now Found Worldwide

Urgent need to develop new drugs to fight bacteria

THURSDAY, May 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are now found worldwide, a situation that could have serious public health consequences, the World Health Organization warns in a new report.

The WHO's first global survey of antibiotic resistance revealed high rates of drug-resistant E. coli bacteria. In some countries, treatment for E. coli is ineffective in more than half of patients. The agency also discovered alarming rates of resistance in other bacteria, including gonorrhea, the Associated Press reported. Without urgent action to counter the threat, "the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill," Keiji Fukuda, M.D., one of the agency's assistant director-generals, said in a news release, according to the AP.

There is an urgent need to develop new drugs to fight bacteria, experts say. The WHO issued the reminder that antibiotics should be only taken as prescribed; the full prescription should be completed; and antibiotics must not be shared with others. Use of leftover prescriptions is also discouraged.

"We see horrendous rates of antibiotic resistance wherever we look…including children admitted to nutritional centers in Niger and people in our surgical and trauma units in Syria," Jennifer Cohn, M.D., a medical director at Doctors Without Borders, in a news release, the AP reported. Nations must improve their monitoring of antibiotic resistance. "Otherwise, our actions are just a shot in the dark," Cohn said.

Health Highlights: May 1, 2014
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