Researchers say antibiotic resistance becomes growing global health threat

  • Increase in global consumption of antibiotics fuels fears that the worldwide threat posed by drug-resistant superbugs will spiral out of control
  • Researchers said that the challenge posed by antibiotic resistance is likely to get worse
  • United States, France and Italy are the countries with the highest usage of antibiotics

Global consumption of antibiotics has soared since the year 2000; stoking calls for new policies to rein in usage and fueling fears that the worldwide threat posed by drug-resistant superbugs will spiral out of control, researchers said.

A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that consumption of antibiotics has increased to 65% from 2000 to 2015; based on sales data for 76 countries.

According to the research team headed by scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in the US capital, countries need to invest in alternative treatments, sanitation and vaccination.

“With antibiotic consumption increasing worldwide, the challenge posed by antibiotic resistance is likely to get worse,” said the authors of the study in a published statement.

They also said that antibiotic resistance, driven by antibiotic consumption, is an alarming global health threat.

From the 76 countries studied, the number of so-called ‘defined daily doses’ consumed has increased to 34.8 billion in 2015, from 21.2 billion in 2000.

Eili Klein, a researcher at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy and one of the study’s authors, said the jump signifies increased access to needed drugs in countries with lots of disease that can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

It was found out at the 16-year period study that United States, France and Italy are the countries with the highest usage of antibiotics.

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