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Growing antibiotic resistance 'a genuine threat of humanity'

July 13, 2013 at 12:31 AM   |   Comments

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CANBERRA, Australia, July 13 (UPI) -- The growing antibiotic-resistant infections are a "looming public health issue" for Australia that needs urgent new funding, the country's top scientist warned.

"Antibiotic resistance has the potential to become one of the world's biggest public health challenges, requiring a serious response from our scientists, our industries and the community at large," Ian Chubb, Australia's chief scientist, told the Guardian Australia.

A report by the Office of the Chief Scientist said there is "a genuine threat of humanity returning to an era where mortality due to common infections such as skinned knees and sore throats is rife."

The report said "misuse and overuse" of antibiotics for animal husbandry, for driving up resistance levels in humans.

"Some bacteria are now so resistant that they are virtually untreatable with any of the currently available drugs," the report said.

"If we do not take action to address this threat, humankind will be on the brink of a 'post-antibiotics era' where untreatable and fatal infections become increasingly common," the report said.

"In Australia, the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections appearing in the community and acquired during international travel represents a looming public health issue."

The report noted a "collapse" in research and development into finding new antibiotics as an area of significant concern.

"Only one antibiotic that works in a novel way has been discovered and developed for use in humans in the last 50 years," the study said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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