White House is finally getting involved in fighting the diseases caused by superbugs by laying out a new plan for battling antibiotic resistance with new and more efficient drugs. One of the more conservative estimates of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 2 million people contract resistant bacteria annually, 23,000 of whom die.
It is long since both doctors and health experts have started warning about the rising levels of resistant bacteria, which were predicted to cause tens of thousands of deaths. These deaths start cancelling modern medical advancements, which have become less effective as the bacteria become more powerful.
Amanda Jezek, vice-president of the public policy and government relations at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said that the advancement of the bacteria resistance is one of the most “sweeping and comprehensive” growth in medical terms. Jezek told Reuters that IDSA has pressed the Congress for years about the necessary laws that need to be adopted and requested that more funding be allocated to antibiotic resistance.
Some of the goals concerning superbug infections include a dramatic cut in their frequency over the next five years, which can be achieved by investing in improved antibiotic drugs and creating new diagnostic tools. The medical community also urges better surveillance and practices in hospital, as well as promoting a more efficient international collaboration between the World Health Organization and foreign ministries of health.
However, one of the domains that need most reform is the industry of livestock antibiotics, which causes a widespread of superbugs. Sujatha Jahagirdar, head of the consumer group U.S. PIRG Stop Antibiotics Overuse, estimated that almost 70 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are being fed to livestock and poultry.
Believe it or not, industrial agriculture consumes the majority of antibiotics in the United States. They are used to make animals grow faster with less feed and still remain healthy. This is quite a challenge, since a lot of factory farms offer unsanitary conditions with loads of chances for disease to flourish.
This abusive use of antibiotics, however, is one of the causes that lead to more and more complicated drug-resistant bacteria; overuse helps superbugs leave the farms and infiltrate into human environment, creating new situations where public health is threatened.
The World Health Organization in collaboration with experts around the globe has reached a very serious conclusion. In the absence of immediate and significant steps that will decrease overuse of antibiotic use on factory farms, the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria will remain one of the leading causes of infection and death in the U.S.
President Obama’s initiative of tackling the problem is laudable, but the issue needs to be cut from the root, which is curbing the overuse and misuse of antibiotics on large factory farms.
Image Source: Modern Farmer
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