Antibiotics Are 'Ticking Time-Bomb', Warns Medical Chief

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The above headline comes from the United Kingdom on March 11, 2013 from The Telegraph. The article starts off by quoting Professor Dame Sally Davies, the UK Chief Medical Officer (CMO) who said that the threat posed by antibiotic resistance is a "ticking time-bomb", which should be put on the UK's National Risk Register.

Professor Davies's comments were based on her report published on March 11, 2013 titled, "Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer". Highlighting the importance Professor Davies gives to this issue, the subtitle of her report reads, "Infections and the rise of antimicrobial resistance."

According to the Telegraph article, "The problem is a “ticking time bomb” and should be put on the National Risk Register — which also includes “catastrophic terrorist attacks” and other civil emergencies, Prof Dame Sally Davies said.

Another article on the same subject in The Guardian on March 17, 2013 points out how serious this issue is by saying, "Antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill far more people each year globally than terrorism."  The  Guardian further  illustrates their point by reporting that the, "World Health Organization estimates that for tuberculosis alone multi-drug resistance accounts for more than 150,000 deaths each year."

A number of the articles addressing this issue point out that the main reason for the rise in antibiotic resistance is the overuse and indiscriminant use of antibiotics.  One article notes that in years to come, if this problem is not kept in check, almost half of the people who have surgery, such as hip replacement, will succumb to an infection, and of those about 30% will die from it.

In an April 9, 2013 news article on the UK government website Professor Anthony Kessel, Director of Public Health Strategy at PHE, sums up the issue by saying: "We are very pleased that the CMO is giving the issue of antibiotic resistance her full attention. This is not a clinical issue but one that affects all of us and we must change our attitude towards antibiotics. They certainly have their place for treating bacterial infections but too often are given for viral illnesses which contribute towards the problems we are facing today. This will require more awareness raising and education both for clinicians and the public on how we use the antibiotics that we have."