News / Health

Antibiotic Resistance Requires Fast Actions

Antibiotic Resistance Requires Fast Actionsi
X
Carol Pearson
May 09, 2014 12:54 AM
The World Health Organization issued a wake-up call April 30 when it reported that we have now entered a post-antibiotic period. What this means is that some common bacterial infections no longer respond as quickly, or at all, to drugs that used to contain them. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Carol Pearson
The World Health Organization issued a wake-up call April 30 when it reported that we have now entered a post-antibiotic period. What this means is that some common bacterial infections no longer respond as quickly, or at all, to drugs that used to contain them.  

Bacteria are tiny living beings...neither plant nor animal. Some, like the bacteria in yogurt, are good for us, but others are deadly.

Like the World Health Organization,  the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has found that some bacteria no longer respond to antibiotics like they used to. Dr. Laurie Hicks is with the CDC.

“We are seeing greater than 2 million episodes of antibiotic resistant infections each year in the U.S. alone. Twenty-three thousand of these episodes result in death," said Hicks.

If there are messages the CDC wants to get out, one is:

We want doctors to know that antibiotic resistance is a big problem," said Hicks.

Another is:

"We want patients to know that antibiotics don’t work for viral infections," she said.

Antibiotic resistance already has changed the way medicine is practiced in hospitals like Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Doctors there are now more cautious about how they use antibiotics, and they constantly review treatment plans to see if patients are getting the right antibiotics and the right dose. Dr. Trish Perl is an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“You all of the sudden understand what it was like to practice medicine maybe 50, 70, 80 years ago when there weren’t antibiotics," said Perl.

Nearby, at the University of Maryland Medical Center, doctors have changed the way they care for patients in the intensive care unit.

MRSA is an antibiotic resistant staph infection that spreads easily in a hospital, especially in an intensive care unit, and it can be deadly.  Dr. Anthony Harris studied whether having health care workers wear gloves and gowns in intensive care units could reduce the number of infections.

“Wearing gloves and gowns for all patient contact lead to a significant decrease in MRSA acquisition, accounting for about a 40 percent decrease," said Harris.

Dr. Perl says more money needs to be poured into research so health officials can understand how these organisms are spread. New drugs need to be developed to take the place of those that no longer work. And patients need to be educated.

"Resistance commonly develops when people skip medications or take it one day and not the next. Or they don’t think they really have to take the entire course. It’s particularly problematic with diseases like tuberculosis," she said.

Solutions need to be found fast because the World Health Organization warns that antibiotic resistance is a problem so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid