Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is calling on the U.S. government to intervene in the life-threatening fight against bacteria, saying we are heading for a “post antibiotic era.” Over-use by patients and over-prescribing by the medical community have made for a toxic mix, leading Americans vulnerable to new emerging strains of bacteria for which there is no cure. 28,000 Americans die from bacterial infections every year.
“There is a concern for the emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria; because it could lead to circumstances where don’t have antibiotics to treat some patients. And we even now sometimes have circumstances where the bacteria causing an infection is either resistant to most antibiotics or to all but a few toxic antibiotics or even all the antibiotics that we would normally use, and it makes it very difficult to treat these infections,” says Infectious Disease expert Dr. Robert Atmar from Baylor College of Medicine.
This week the CDC is launching a new program that lets hospitals track all antibiotics dispensed in real time to find which are most likely to work and which won’t.
“Part of what leads to the emergence of multi-drug-resistant organisms is the use of antibiotics. There are a number of syndromes in the out-patient setting where it’s not clear that antibiotics are of any benefits or it’s clear they are of no benefit. Some these include respiratory viral infections where patients often go to the doctor to get an antibiotic to cure their cold,” Dr. Atmar tells KTRH News. He says doctors often bend and give the patient what they want, which only strengthens resistance to bacteria.
A recent CDC study found roughly one-third of all antibiotic use in this country is unnecessary.
A horse of a completely different color, but every bit as lethal, is viruses. Meddle East Respiratory Syndrome is now found to be transmitted through the air. 288 people have died from the newly mutated virus for which no anti-viral medication has been developed.