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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid