Shocking State of the World’s Antibiotic Resistance

If there was a report card of our global fight against superbugs, we’d get a failing grade. According to new research, pathogenic bacteria may be more intelligent than we thought. It seems they are outsmarting our best antibiotics faster and on a more widespread global level than previously believed.

In a new report issued by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, & Policy, entitled “State of the World’s Antibiotics,” researchers identified some serious issues concerning our global antibiotic use and the worsening state of antibiotic resistance worldwide.

As fewer and fewer of our antibiotics work against increasingly potent superbugs, the report challenges the commonly-held belief that the biggest obstacle facing antibiotic resistance is a lack of new antibiotics being discovered or developed. Instead the report indicates that the most serious concern is limiting the overuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock.

The report examined antibiotic resistance to specific bacteria in 69 countries worldwide. The study found that E. coli was resistant to the class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones in many countries, with some of the most antibiotic resistant countries as follows:

India 85 percent resistant

Belarus 75 percent

Kenya 65 percent

Italy 43 percent

Turkey 42 percent

Bulgaria 41 percent

Slovakia 41 percent

Spain 36 percent

Portugal 32 percent

Greece 32 percent

Romania 32 percent

United States 30 percent

Poland 29 percent

South Africa 28 percent

Canada 27 percent

The same report also found that the United States was the most antibiotic resistant country in the world to the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus at 42 percent resistance to the same class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, with the Republic of Serbia at 33 percent, Turkey at 22 percent and Belarus at 21 percent. The high numbers in the U.S. are likely the result of industrial farming practices in which the antibiotics are heavily used on animals. Farms have become giant petri dishes for superbugs, especially multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus (also known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus or MRSA), which kills 20,000 Americans every year—more than AIDS.

According to the non-profit group Friends of the Earth, 70 to 80 percent of all antibiotics used are used on factory farms. This agricultural process needs to stop and, more importantly, legislation over the use of antibiotics in farming practices needs to be ramped up to stop this unethical and unnecessary practice.

It’s a common, albeit incorrect, belief that bacteria develop resistance to one type of antibiotic at a time. Instead, bacteria typically learn how to resist multiple types of antibiotics and share that resistance information with each other. In other words, they cooperate with each other to increase the resistance of high numbers of bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2 million Americans become infected with bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant every year and at least 23,000 of those people die annually from these aggressive infections.

What exactly is causing antibiotic resistance? Of course, there are many complex factors, but some of the main causes include: excessive use on factory farms where these antibiotics enter our food supply, the use of antibiotics to treat viral infections like colds or flu (remember that antibiotics are only effective against bacteria), the widespread use of antibacterial soaps and body washes, prematurely discontinuing courses of antibiotics prior to killing all of the bacteria causing the infections and flushing left-over antibiotics down the toilet and into the water supply.

For more information about antibiotic resistance and the advantages of choosing probiotics in treating infectious diseases, check out my book: The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out (DaCapo, 2015).

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117 comments

W. C
W. C9 months ago

Thank you.

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William C
William C9 months ago

Thanks.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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James Baret
James Baret3 years ago

Thank you.

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James Baret
James Baret3 years ago

Thank you.

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Gord B.
Gord B3 years ago

Im betting Genetic modifications in the food we eat has something to do withit

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Maggie W.
Maggie D3 years ago

ALL medications that are not completely used up should be taken to a pharmacy for proper disposal.

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Caroline B.
Caroline B3 years ago

Always finish the prescription when antibiotics are prescribed.

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federico bortoletto
federico b3 years ago

Grazie.

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Joemar Karvelis
Joemar Karvelis3 years ago

Thanks

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