Five shocking facts about antibiotic abuse

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Antimicrobial Resistance: The Next Pandemic

Modern medicine relies on antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs. We use them to treat everything from mild illnesses to life-threatening bacterial infections, and to make surgeries and cancer treatments safer.

You may have been prescribed antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection As pneumoniaa kidney infectionor one urinary tract infection. You may have received antibiotics to prevent infection during a operationfollowing a cut or wound or while he was undergoing chemotherapy.

But the overuse and misuse of these valuable drugs has led to the emergence of drug-resistant “superbugs,” which pose one of the biggest threats to human health today.

It’s called antimicrobial resistance (or RAM).

1. Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise

Due to the natural process of mutation and natural selection, as well as decades of overuse and misuse, bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

Just as we’ve seen with COVID-19, bacteria can mutate to form new variants better suited to survive treatment.

In 2021, former Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies described antimicrobial resistance as “the silent pandemic growing in the shadows‘.

2. Antimicrobial resistance is the third leading cause of death worldwide

Antimicrobial resistance is now the third leading cause of death worldwide, claiming more lives than malaria or HIV/AIDS.

In 2019, 4.95 million dead were associated and 1.27 million directly attributable to antimicrobial resistance (The Lancet, 2019).

There is currently 12,000 dead of RAM per year in the UK, but this is believed to be a significant underestimate, and the number is increasing.

3. The elderly, young children and immunocompromised people are most at risk

As we age, we become more susceptible to lung infections like bacterial pneumonia. This means that antibiotics may need to be used more frequently.

Without effective antibiotics, infectious diseases such as pneumonia and bubonic plague will no longer be treatable, routine procedures like hip replacements will become extremely dangerous, and even a simple cut could be fatal.

4. It will cost the global economy $100 trillion a year by 2050

If left unchecked, antimicrobial resistance is expected to cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050 and cost the global economy $100 trillion per year.

5. The UK’s only doctoral training program in antimicrobial resistance was set up in 2018

Tackling antimicrobial resistance is a complex issue that requires action across all sectors.

The Medical Research Foundation short the UK’s only multidisciplinary doctoral training program in antimicrobial resistanceat the University of Bristol.

The multidisciplinary system brings together 30 doctoral scientists from all areas of science, medicine, engineering and social science to lead future research into antimicrobial resistance in the UK.

“We are building this for the future.” – Professor Matthew Avison, head of the doctoral program

The Foundation for Medical Research depends on generous members of the public to support and fund life-changing research.

By making a bequest to the Medical Research Foundation, you can play a key role in provide the science that will protect the health of future generations.

Please consider making this very special gift today: Donate in your will

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