Chief doc’s fear of re­sis­tant dis­eases

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW GRE­GORY Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

SU­PER­BUGS will kill 10 mil­lion peo­ple a year and spark a “post-an­tibi­otic apoc­a­lypse” with­out im­me­di­ate ac­tion, ex­perts warn to­day.

Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer Prof Dame Sally Davies, will gravely say she fears “the end of mod­ern medicine”.

She and For­eign Min­is­ter Alis­tair Burt called for a global ef­fort to tackle the rise of drug-re­sis­tant dis­eases and pro­vide bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion for pa­tients and GPS over an­tibi­otic overuse.

Dame Sally said: “We re­ally are fac­ing, if we don’t take ac­tion now, a dread­ful post-an­tibi­otic apoc­a­lypse. I don’t want to say to my chil­dren that I didn’t do my best to pro­tect them and their chil­dren.”

About 700,000 peo­ple world­wide die an­nu­ally due to drug-re­sis­tant in­fec­tions like HIV, TB and malaria. With­out ac­tion, this could rise to 10 mil­lion by 2050. Surgery and cancer treat­ments would be­come highly risky and trans­plants “a thing of the past” if an­tibi­otics lose their ef­fec­tive­ness, Dame Sally said.

To­day the Govern­ment will lead a meet­ing of global health chiefs in Ber­lin and an­nounce a new project to map the spread of death from su­per­bugs. Speak­ing ahead of the sum­mit, Dame Sally warned: “This an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance is with us now, killing peo­ple. It does not 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 globe. We need some real work on the ground to make a dif­fer­ence or we risk the end of mod­ern medicine.”

Dame Sally, Bri­tain’s most se­nior doc­tor, urged the world to fol­low the UK and re­duce use of an­tibi­otics. She said up to 33% of pre­scrip­tions were prob­a­bly not needed. Last month the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion warned an­tibi­otics were “run­ning out” as a re­port found a “se­ri­ous lack” of new drugs in de­vel­op­ment.

The project to map the spread of su­per­bugs is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Govern­ment, char­ity the Well­come Trust and oth­ers. Mr Burt said: “The UK is not con­tent to sit back and let this turn into a catas­tro­phe.”

HIV Closeup of the virus

MALARIA Some strains are drug re­sis­tant

TB Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis bac­te­ria

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