PHM-Exch> World leaders urged to act on ‘post-antibiotic apocalypse’ by UK chief medical officer

Claudio Schuftan schuftan at
Sat Oct 21 01:26:20 PDT 2017

From: South Centre <south at>

*World leaders urged to act on ‘post-antibiotic apocalypse’ by chief
medical officer *

*Professor Dame Sally Davies warns that resistance to treatments is a
growing threat that could mean ‘the end of modern medicine’. (excerpts)*

England’s chief medical officer has warned of a “post-antibiotic
apocalypse” as she issued a call to action urging global leaders to address
the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said that if antibiotics lose their
effectiveness it will spell “the end of modern medicine”.

Without the drugs used to fight infections, common medical interventions
such as caesarean sections, cancer treatments and hip replacements would
become incredibly “risky”, she said.

And transplant medicine would be a “thing of the past”, she added.

“We really are facing, if we don’t take action now, a dreadful
post-antibiotic apocalypse,” she told the Press Association.

“I don’t want to say to my children that I didn’t do my best to protect
them and their children.”

Health experts have previously warned that resistance to antimicrobial
drugs could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer.

In recent years, the UK has led a drive to raise global awareness of the
threat posed to modern medicine by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Around 700,000 people around the world die annually due to drug-resistant
infections including tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria.

If no action is taken, it has been estimated that drug-resistant infections
will kill 10 million people a year by 2050.

Dame Sally said that because AMR is “hidden”, people “just let it pass”.

“This AMR is with us now, killing people.

“This is a serious issue that is with us now, causing deaths.

“If it was anything else people would be up in arms about it. But because
it is hidden they just let it pass.

“It does not really have a ‘face’ because most people who die of drug
resistant infections, their families just think they died of an
uncontrolled infection.

“It will only get worse unless we take strong action everywhere across the

“We need some real work on the ground to make a difference or we risk the
end of modern medicine.”

She added: “Not to be able to effectively treat infections means that
caesarean sections, hip replacements, modern surgery, is risky.

“Modern cancer treatment is risky and transplant medicine becomes a thing
of the past.”

Dame Sally warned that if the global community did not act then the
progress which had been made in Britain may be “undermined”.

She added: “We use more than I would like and we estimate that about one in
three or one in four prescriptions in primary care are probably not needed.

“But other countries use vastly more antibiotics in the community and they
need to start doing as we are, which is reducing usage.

“Our latest data shows that we have reduced human consumption by 4.3 per
cent in 2014/15 from the year before.”

In September the World Health Organisation warned that antibiotics are
“running out” as a report found a “serious lack” of new drugs in the
development pipeline.
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