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Antibiotic lack may be catastrophic threat

  |   March 11, 2013 at 1:39 AM
LONDON, March 11 (UPI) -- Britain's chief medical officer warns infections resistant to antibiotics pose a catastrophic threat that could result in death from minor surgery.

Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, said Monday global action was needed to tackle the catastrophic threat of anti-microbial resistance, which in 20 years could see people dying after minor surgery. Davies also released the second volume of her annual report, which included a comprehensive overview of the threat of anti-microbial resistance and infectious diseases.

The report said there is a "discovery void" with few new antibiotics developed in the past 20 years, while new infectious diseases were discovered nearly every year in past 30 years.

The report made 17 recommendations including:

-- A call for anti-microbial resistance to be put on the national risk register and taken seriously by politicians.

-- Better surveillance data world wide to monitor the developing situation.

-- More work carried out between the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries to preserve existing drugs and encourage the development of new antibiotics.

-- Better prevention of health-acquired infections via better hygiene.

"Routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection in a couple of decades," Davies said in a statement. "That's why governments and organizations across the world, including the World Health Organization and G8 [Group of Eight, eight of the world's wealthiest countries] need to take this seriously."

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