Imagine the United States of America when a simple skin infection from a scrape causes a 10 percent chance of dying. Out of every 1,000 women who give birth, nine will die, and out of the 1,000 infants born, up to 30 percent will die. It is difficult to imagine, but these are the alarming statistics prior to antibiotics in the early 1900’s.
Vast improvements have been made since then in life expectancy and public health. Yet, these advancements are now being set back. Microbes are evolutionary clever, responding to their environment to evade death. In the past, resistance was not as rapid as the pharmaceutical market exploded with new antibiotics. But now, the problem is a crisis. Superbugs with multiple drug resistances wreak havoc in hospitals faster than countermeasures are developed.
The threat is global, as one resistant strain can rise and spread to other parts of the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) claim that antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide. Every year, more than 23,000 people die in the U.S. from these infections, and many more from the associated conditions, costing an estimated $70 billion yearly.
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