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Common Infections Will Be 'Untreatable' if Antibiotic Misuse Continues

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The world is being pushed towards the unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections, warns a new paper published in the medical journal Lancet, blaming a decline in new drug discoveries and the rising numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In the EU alone, 25,000 patients die every year from infections caused by drug resistant bacteria.

As well as investment into new antibiotics, there are growing calls for a crackdown on the misuse of existing antibiotics.

The biggest problem is seen as unnecessary use in human medicine but, the excessive use of antibiotics in intensive farming units, particularly pig and poultry farms, is seen as a growing threat.

Scientists say antimicrobial resistance may also be passing between animals and humans, making the need to cut unnecessary use in farming even more urgent. The World Health Organisation says drug use in farm animals plays a 'significant role' in spreading antibiotic-resistant salmonella and campylobacter infections in humans.

Last month, MEPs voted in favour of a resolution calling for a ban on the prohylactic use (given as a preventative measure before they get sick) of antibiotics in livestock farming.


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