Our last line of defence against hospital ‘superbugs’ is faltering, with resistance to the antibiotics usually used to tackle intractable pneumonia and urinary tract infections on the rise and spreading across European countries.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Solna, Sweden, announced last week that 29 new cases of bacteria resistant to the broad-spectrum carbapenem antibiotics had been reported across a total of six European Union (EU) countries between early October 2010 and the end of March 2011.
Tackling antibiotic resistance “is now critical, with the establishment of resistance to the last line of antibiotics being reported to the ECDC from several European countries for the first time”, Marc Sprenger, ECDC director, told reporters at a press conference. “Failure to act will mean that treatment options for patients will be severely limited.”
I can’t help but think that our overuse of antibiotics in stuff that really doesn’t need it, like pretty much every hand soap or dish soap, not to mention the overuse of antibiotics in raising livestock, has contributed in no small manner to this problem.