WHY IT’S A PROBLEM
After years of antibiotic use to kill pathogens, bacteria (like E. coli, as shown below) are becoming resistant to treatment. A May 2015 report estimates worldwide deaths from superbugs could rise to 10 million a year by 2050.
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
of E. coli bacteria has shown resistance to penicillin
SOURCE: CENTER FOR DISEASE DYNAMICS, ECONOMICS & POLICY
WHAT COUNTRIES ARE CURRENTLY DOING
National strategies have so far relied heavily on raising awareness, but health care providers and global businesses like fast-food restaurants are pledging to curb unnecessary antibiotic use in people and animals. In the U.S., the government is trying to bolster national surveillance of superbugs.
WHAT COUNTRIES NEED TO DO
The goal of the U.N. meeting is to solidify political support to fight antibiotic resistance. That could mean adopting stronger stances on the judicious use of antibiotics in medicine, pushing for the restriction of antibiotics for livestock and advising people to use prescribed antibiotics correctly (i.e., finish every course of treatment). Developing new drugs will also be critical.
This appears in the October 03, 2016 issue of TIME.
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