Bugs resistant to antibiotics is ‘global threat’
The threat posed by antibiotic resistance should be ranked alongside terrorism on a list of threats to the nation, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer has said.
The problem is a “ticking time-bomb” and should be put on the Government’s National Risk Register – which also includes “catastrophic terrorist attacks” and other civil emergencies, Professor Dame Sally Davies said.
Routine operations such as hip replacements could become deadly in just 20 years time if we lose the ability to fight infection, she said.
Dame Sally said the problem is “as important as climate change for the world” and urged the Government to raise the issue when meeting political leaders at the G8 summit in London next month.
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In her report, Dame Sally called for better protection of our current stock of antibiotics, better incentives for the pharmaceutical industry to develop new drugs and asked ministers to ensure the issue is placed on the register.
Her report states: “Antimicrobial resistance is a ticking time-bomb not only for the UK but for the world. We need to work with everyone to ensure the apocalyptic scenario of widespread antimicrobial resistance does not become a reality. This threat is arguably as important as climate change for the world.”
The Department of Health said it will soon publish the UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy setting out a five-year action plan aiming to address the issue.
Professor Nigel Brown, president of the Society for General Microbiology, said: “Professor Dame Sally Davies rightly flags the issue of antimicrobial resistance to be of national and international concern.”