02:41 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Spores from the Sterne strain of anthrax bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) are pictured in this handout scanning electron micrograph (SEM) obtained by Reuters May 28, 2015

    New Stone Age Begins: Nightmare 'Superbug' Sends Humanity Back in Time

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    The advent of multi-resistant bacteria, which are completely immune to antibiotics, has plunged the scientific world into a deep shock. Invulnerability to antibiotics would ultimately make it impossible to treat minor infections and could eventually become a mass killer.

    Last week, the news of a 49-year-old woman in the United States who had supposedly been infected with a multi-resistant "superbacterium" sent shock waves through Denmark's scientific circles. Danish researchers argued that multiresistence may send the treatment of inflammations 100 years back in time.

    "If these bacteria become widespread, then we are left with virtually no treatment. This scenario has never before been closer than it is now. We are moving into a post-antibiotic era, which may prove quite similar to the pre-antibiotics era," Hans Jørgen Kolmos, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Southern Denmark, told Jyllands-Posten.

    Last year, researchers from China and Great Britain discovered bacteria that are resistant to 'last resort' antibiotic agent Coliston in living pigs, pork meat and a number of people in China. Similar findings in a US woman leaves us with a ‘gloomy' future, said Svend Ellermann-Eriksen, professor and chief physician at the Department of Clinical Microbiology at Aarhus University Hospital.

    Both Svend Ellermann-Eriksen and Hans Jørgen Kolmos issued a clarion call to the Danish healthcare system to cut down on the consumption of antibiotics. According to the scientists, there is a dangerous tendency to view antibiotics as harmless.

    "One should remember that if a Mrs. Jensen is treated with antibiotics, this compromises a Mr. Hansen as well," Svend Ellermann-Eriksen said.

    Although the Danish consumption of antibiotics in health care may be assessed as moderate in comparison to some parts of the world, the consumption still increased by 30 per cent over the past 10 years.

    Another, if not greater threat is the use of antibiotics for agricultural purposes.

    "Danish farmers use twice as much antibiotics as the entire Danish healthcare system does. It is an utter mess," Hans Jørgen Kolmos said, advocating greater demands on agriculture.

    However, the criticism was rejected by Robert Leo Forest of the State Serum Institute, who argued that the antibiotic consumption in the Danish agriculture still is much lower than in Asia.

    Nevertheless, Hans Jørn Kolmos advocated local solutions to the global threat, such as creating a local environment, where these bacteria may find it difficult to thrive.

    According to previous estimates, 10 million people die are expected to die every year from 2050 onwards, unless an international strategy against multiresistent bacteria emerges.

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    Tags:
    bacteria, antibiotic resistance, drugs, medicine, Scandinavia, United States, Denmark
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