How antibiotic resistance threatens the survival of mankind
Health services now face greater challenges than ever before. This is partly due to a greater world population and higher life expectancy. The range of health issues is just vast and numerous. But from among the list, antibiotic resistance really stands out. It’s a huge threat to mankind and something that’s starting to get out of control. In this post, we’ll be looking at the threat antibiotic resistance poses to the modern world. But more importantly, we’ll look at how it will affect us globally over the next 30 + years. Well, since a big majority of us are still going to be here, let’s dig in…
The future global threat of antibiotic resistance
Ever since their discovery, antibiotics have been the “gold dust” of medical treatment. But because of their widespread use and prevalence, antibiotics are slowly losing their effectiveness. This isn’t just for lone individuals but on a global scale. To that end, (OECD) has managed to put their finger on it. OECD did specific research into the fatality rate of diseases caused by antibiotic resistance. According to the figures, more than 2.5million people will die between 2018 and 2050. That’s not for the whole world; that’s just in over 30 countries. The US is at the top of the antibiotic resistance “death-row” list. They will suffer at least 1.1 million deaths, followed by Italy with under 500,000. For us here in the UK, we’re number 6 on the list with an upcoming death toll of over 90,000. Other countries like Australia and Iceland will suffer far less.
The first major consequence of this is a giant surge in potentially uncurable diseases. The diseases themselves aren’t actually untreatable. But rather, the bugs which cause them are developing resistance. Not only to first-line antibiotics, but also to the “back-up” ones too. Therefore, many antibiotics we rely on today will no longer be useful in the future. As a result, we may no longer be able to treat diseases we were once able to. I don’t know what you think, but that’s a frightening prospect.
According to an OECD report, these deadly superbugs will affect the UK more than other nations. That’s mainly because the infection rate is higher than most countries. However, that’s not to say that the UK has a poor healthcare system. The UK actually has the best level of antibiotic resistance control out of all nations. But if it loses its grip… then we’re set for some big trouble later on.
This issue of antibiotic resistance is even greater in low-income countries. For a start, most of these countries already have really tight healthcare budgets. So, it will be much harder for them to handle. The problem of superbugs poses a threat to people of all demographics. But young children and elderly individuals are most at risk. This is mainly because their immune systems aren’t as strong.
Actions to combat antibiotic resistance
Luckily, there are certain actions we can take now before it’s too late. The first step is to restrict how we use antibiotics. A lot of illnesses don’t actually need antibiotic treatment. This is particularly true of illnesses with viral origins (eg Flu). But even with this information, patients still request them from their doctors. We have simply been overusing these drugs for decades. This is a big contributor to the emergence of global antibiotic resistance.
The second is to implement stricter hygiene measures. On a personal level, this could be basic things like hand-washing. According to surveys, many adults still fail to do this after using the lavatory. How many germs could we prevent just by doing this alone? In hospitals and clinics, hygiene standards should be top-notch everywhere. After all, there’s no point going to the hospital only to pick up a new infection…
Ultimately, countries around the world need to invest more money into tackling superbugs. This is the only way to prevent this upcoming catastrophe from happening. Since it will affect the whole of humanity, the world needs to collaborate. It should involve numerous nations all funding various related projects. Or at least helping in one way or another. No matter your views on this, the bars are high and our future depends on it.