World Health Organization Issues Warning About Antibiotic Overuse
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an alert June 12, 2000 the present use of antibiotics is creating a dangerous situation by increasing drug resistant infections. Based on the report, which was picked up by the Associated Press and most other news agencies, "drug-resistant infections in rich and third world countries alike are threatening to create once-treatable diseases incurable."
Dr. David Heymann, WHO infectious diseases chief , stated in the article, "We are losing windows of opportunity. It is something we have to really address immediately or we are going to start losing our antibiotics." Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, director from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who helped the WHO unveil the report also added, "This is really a major problem for us, and it is not likely to go away."
The problem is that people are using antibiotics so regularly the bacteria we are fighting are actually evolving to be resistant and stronger. At the same time when we continually use antibiotics instead of our own natural resistance we are becoming weaker, as a species, in our ability to fight these bacteria.
The World Health Organization also noticed that how we raise animals is another large part of the problem. The WHO noted that half the antibiotics used worldwide are utilized on the farm, mostly to help healthy animals grow bigger. That encourages drug-resistant bacteria that create food poisoning. According to WHO up to 5,000 Americans might have suffered longer-lasting food poisoning in 1998 from drug-resistant germs in chicken.
The results are already being felt. The US Centers for Disease Control states that as many as 88,000 Americans die every year of infections they catch within the hospital, and many are resistant against at least one antibiotic, complicating treatment attempts.
The WHO makes two basic recommendations. The very first is wiser use of antibiotic and antimicrobial drugs. The second is that human antibiotics not be used to enhance the growth of animals intended for human consumption.
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