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Miracle Drug Today. Dangerous Drug Tomorrow

Drug resistance today poses a bigger danger worldwide than did AIDS in the 1980s, the World Health Organization says in a dire-sounding report out today:

"Without urgent, coordinated action, 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," says a top official. Indeed, we could see a world where a child's fall from a bike could mean a "fatal infection."

Spectrum Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. David Dobbie tells WOOD Radio anti-biotics remain miracle drugs -- but the miracle may be overdone.

"Antibiotics are no longer 'can't hurt / might help' drugs. That is the way health care providers and patients have viewed them."

The report examined resistance in the germs behind illnesses like pneumonia and urinary tract infections; the report cites routine surgery and common bladder infections in retirement homes as possible dangers of the future. Governments, an expert says, must step up: "The world needs to respond as it did to the AIDS crisis of the '80s."

Dr. Dobbie says doctors and patients have to change the way they think about drugs.

"Part of what we need to do as a community is not to request any biotics and not prescribe antibiotics unless we have a clear reason. We should use them just as we would our financial resources -- as if they are of limited supply."

 

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