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Most Countries are Unprepared for Superbug

Most Countries are Unprepared for Superbug


The growing concern of superbug infections is an international one, but are all countries prepared for the possibility? A recent report released by the World Health Organization, WHO, asked this very question. The answer might surprise you.

The Report Issued by WHO

The news coming from the World Health Organization is discouraging. Officials there surveyed 133 countries to determine their level of preparedness should a superbug cross their borders. Despite the continual warnings issued by WHO only 34 countries have a comprehensive plan in place to prevent, manage and isolate antibiotic resistant infections.

The truth is that many countries do not have the resources to handle this type of problem. That lack of infrastructure is part of the growing concern about superbugs. These countries are unable to properly monitor of these diseases and contain them when they happen.

Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis

Of particular concern is multidrug resistant tuberculosis, according to WHO. The first few cases were reported in 2006 in Italy. Since that time, the bug has continued to spread and even mutated into a new strain currently affecting 100 countries. There were an estimated 480,000 cases is 2013.

Single Biggest Challenge

WHO’s assistant director-general for health security calls controlling superbugs “the single biggest challenge in infectious disease today.” It is a growing trend even in developed countries like the U.S., where almost 200 patients at Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angles were exposed to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, a pathogen with a 50 percent mortality rate.

Call for Action

WHO is calling for all countries to commit to creating a comprehensive plan to defend against superbugs like multidrug resistant TB and CRE. A proper plan should include monitoring of antibiotic use to reduce pathogens from developing a resistance. This will be an overwhelming problem in some areas where antimicrobials are available over the counter or for order on the Internet.

Plans must also include an approach to controlling an infection if it hits the country. Educating healthcare providers around the world in the basics of infection control and coming up with actionable plans for every country will be the key to curtailing this growing threat.

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