A growing health threat that will kill more people than cancer

By Dawn Stover | September 19, 2016

On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly will devote an entire day to a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance. The meeting is recognition that bacteria and other microbes are evolving to become more and more resistant to antibiotics and other antimicrobials, which means that these drugs will eventually become ineffective against even the simplest infections unless there are major changes in how they are used in medicine and agriculture.

“I think that many people don't even know that this is an issue,” said Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization’s special representative for antimicrobial resistance, in an interview with National Public Radio’s Michel Martin that aired on September 18, “but it's been projected that this is going to kill more people than cancer kills right now by 2050, on the order of about 10 million people per year.”

“The most fundamental issue is that we're simply overusing, sometimes misusing antibiotics and antimicrobial drugs,” Fukuda said. “In order to reverse that, we're going to have to take different kinds of actions, legislation in some countries.”


Publication Name: National Public Radio
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