Superbugs

OVERVIEW

A superbug is a highly lethal infectious bacteria that is extremely resistant to antibiotics. While antibiotic use naturally results in more resistant bacteria, the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is greatly accelerating this resistance. Some progress has been made in reducing antibiotic use, however superbugs are currently forecasted to be a major world health issue of the future.

DANGERS

  • Superbugs are considered one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and global development
  • Society could enter a post-antibiotic era in which common infections become lethal again
  • 10 million people could die every year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria by 2050

CURRENT STATUS

  • In 2016, the UN elevated antibiotic resistance to crisis level
  • Bill Gates is one of the many people concerned about superbugs, citing epidemics that could kill more than 30 million people
  • The world’s most dangerous superbugs currently include gonorrhea, salmonella, and streptococcus
  • Physicists discovered in 2017 that it’s possible to kill bacteria with a special type of UV light instead of antibiotics
  • Antibacterial soaps increase antibiotic resistance, so the US banned these soaps in 2016
  • The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology’s interactive Resistomap shows which countries currently have highest resistance levels to a variety of antibiotics