Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally.
In Kenya, researchers say many drugs are losing their ability to kill germs. The resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.
A growing list of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea, and foodborne diseases – are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.
Tuberculosis, or TB, is the number one infectious disease killer in the world, taking over one and a half million lives every year. TB is difficult to treat, and some resistant strains need years of daily treatment with multiple drugs, including months of painful injections and serious side effects that can leave patients deaf.
Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
The world urgently needs to change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics. Even if new medicines are developed, without behaviour change, antibiotic resistance will remain a major threat. Behaviour changes must also include actions to reduce the spread of infections through vaccination, hand washing, practising safer sex, and good food hygiene.