WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has said that an epidemic of multi-drug-resistant typhoid fever was spreading in Africa and Asia.
WHO’s Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, who spoke at a high-level dialogue on antimicrobial resistance with United Nations (UN) member-states in United States, said even with the best of care, only around 50 per cent of all patients with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis can be cured.
Chan declared that the rise of antimicrobial resistance is a global crisis that is recognized as one of the greatest threats to health today.
According to her, “The threat is easy to describe. Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise in every region of the world. We are losing our first-line antibiotics. This makes a broad range of common infections much more difficult to treat.
“Second- and third-choice antibiotics are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require administration in intensive care units.”
According to Dr Chan, compelling evidence showed that resistance was driven by the total volume of antibiotics used, also in food production. In some countries, more antibiotics were used in food production than in medical care.
She, however, warned that with only a few antibiotics presently undergoing development; the world was heading towards a post-antibiotic era in which common infections would once again kill.
According to her, “if current trends continue, sophisticated interventions, like organ transplantation, joint replacements, cancer chemotherapy and care of pre-term infants will become more difficult or even too dangerous to undertake.
“This may even bring the end of modern medicine as we know it. We need to act now to make sure this does not happen.”
She, therefore, solicited political commitment at the highest level of government to tackle antimicrobial resistance, warning that antimicrobial resistance was a slow-motion tsunami that must be managed with the utmost urgency.
According to her, “we need ways to target all behaviours that contribute to the misuse of these fragile medicines. We should not any single sector. We are all in this together; we need ways to monitor progress and make quick course corrections if we are moving in the wrong direction.”