A study presented at the American Chemical Society March 24 found that use of chlorine in wastewater treatment seems to be failing to remove antibiotics, which are proving not to be easily biodegradable. It may also be creating stronger antibiotics that, when released into the environment, may further antibiotic resistance.
Another Deecember 2014 study suggests that drug-resistant superbugs have the capability to kill 10 million people a year, and cost our global economy up to $100 trillion by 2050 if it goes unchecked, The possible death toll is more than annual deaths from cancer, which stand at 8.2 million a year.
Antimicrobial-resistant infections currently claim at least 50,000 lives each year across Europe and the U.S. alone, with many hundreds of thousands more dying in other areas of the world.
The study looked at the potential impact of 6 common infections: 3 bacterial infections including drug resistant E. coli, malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. Advances to manage malaria and HIV could be reversed, with these diseases once again spiraling out of control.
Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill.
In the US alone, drug-resistant bacteria kills 23,000 people a year. That’s roughly the same as the number killed by flu.
A March 27, 2014 CDC study said, that 722,000 people received infections in hospitals in the U.S. in 2011, or one in every 25 patients. Clostridium difficile, a potentially fatal bacterial infection, was the most common cause of infections.
Sometimes in an effort to ‘do whatever it takes’ to fight a serious infection, clinicians use multiple antibiotics to treat the same infection. This practice can contribute to antimicrobial resistance, put patient safety at risk and increase costs.
So what has been done, and what can we do? Basically, some reports have been written, but the problem of infiltration of our water supply with myriad forms of drug wastes has not been confronted, I assume because the whole question of maintaining the present water supply infrastructure is so big that it’s a political hot potato. The estimated costs of repair and upgrade boggle the mind, yet without repair and upgrade of water reticulation, advanced filtration of the sort required is simply not viable.
Once again, we see that action must be taken personally. Good water filtration systems are available and relatively economical, especially when compared with the costs we see as a result of not doing anything.
- CDC Features – Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the US
- Threat Report 2013 | Antimicrobial Resistance | CDC
- FDA seeks anti-‘superbug’ bill