This week, global leaders gathered at the United Nations to discuss a looming health threat: Superbugs. My editor Siobhan O’Connor and I were in the audience, and we listened to leaders from Thailand, Switzerland, Zimbabwe and more describe what happens when bacteria no longer respond to the drugs used to treat them. Even HIV drug resistance is on the rise. Superbugs are potentially devastating, but the meeting showed unprecedented political support to combat the problem. There were hopeful stories too: Norway, for example, cut its antibiotic use in salmon by 99% by creating a vaccine that prevents fish infections. The country’s prime minister also called for a global ban on antibiotic use in animals for growth purposes (we were impressed by that).
Whether the meeting will translate into action remains to be seen, but in the meantime, there are things people can do to cut back. If you're prescribed antibiotics for an infection, don't stop taking the pills halfway through. And remember, not every ailment needs antibiotics: They aren't necessary for the common cold or flu.
Have you been personally impacted by drug-resistant infections? Or do you just have questions or comments? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIME Health Writer