Scientists Demand Global Response Against 'Superbugs,' Threat to Rival Climate Change

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Handout Transmission Electron Micrograph Shows Particles of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronavirus
Particles of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus that emerged in 2012 are seen in an undated colorized transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). REUTERS/National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Handout via Reuters REUTERS

Medical experts are calling on the governments to create a global response against the rise of bacteria resistance to antibiotics and other drugs. Such international commitment should be on similar scale with efforts addressing climate change.

Without global response, experts warned the world may one day face a future where simple virus infection can no longer be treated with drugs and eventually turn into deadly diseases.

According to Prof. Mark Woolhouse, director of the Wellcome Trust, cases of bacteria resistance to antibiotics are "spreading at an alarming rate." He added treating several infectious diseases depends only on one or two types of drugs.

Australians are dying from "superbugs" or antibiotic-resistant bacteria due to overuse of antibiotics. The risk of infection may make it difficult for doctors to perform hip replacements or treat leukemia in the coming years.

Experts in infectious diseases said doctors continue to encounter infections which cannot be treated for the first time since the invention of antibiotics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the world may be entering a post-antibiotic era. The so-called "wonder drugs" may no longer be useful in eliminating superbugs.

WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan said a simple grazed knee can become a risky infection. According to Australian National University Prof. Peter Collignon, also a microbiologist, said a "positive death spiral" be caused by the overuse of antibiotics on humans and animals.

Collignon added many Australians are already dying and the number could be thousands. He noted something must be done to stop the spread of superbugs since the cases of deaths could multiply tenfold.

In New Zealand, a man has died from antibiotic resistant bacteria in 2013. According to clinical microbiologist Mark Jones, he had never seen a more resistant bacterium in his life.

Dr Jones said the hospital had to impose strict isolation rules to prevent it from spreading. If the superbug had somehow spread, he added the impact to the community would be devastating.

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