November 18, 2021: -The coronavirus pandemic grabbed the world’s attention in early 2020 and has failed to let go ever since. Still, U.K. experts warn that antibiotic-resistant infections, often described as a “hidden pandemic,” should be the next big concern.
According to the U.K, one in five people in the U.K. with bloodstream infection in 2020 had an antibiotic-resistant one. Health Security Agency, and that was even after a decline in the number of antibiotic-resistant diseases recorded in 2019.
There are now fears that antibiotic resistance could increase again as winter approaches and we slowly emerge from the global Covid-19 outbreak.
“Antimicrobial resistance has been described as a hidden pandemic, and it’s important that we do not come out of Covid-19 and enter into another crisis,” Dr. Susan Hopkins, the chief medical advisor at the UKHSA, said Wednesday.
“It is likely that Covid-19 restrictions in 2020, which include enhanced infection, prevention, and control measures, played a part in driving down antibiotic resistance and prescribing. While the measures were severe, serious antibiotic-resistant infections will increase once again if we don’t act responsibly, and that can be as simple as regular and thorough handwashing.”
Antibiotics are vital for treating bacterial infections that cause pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. Modern medical care often relies on them to protect against diseases during common medical interventions such as chemotherapy, caesareans, and other surgeries.
Problematically, antibiotics have often been prescribed to treat coughs, earache, and sore throats where they may have no effect.
Worse still, the prescription of antibiotics when they were not practical or necessary has led to the emergence of antibiotic resistance, occurring when bacteria no longer respond to antibiotics, potentially causing severe complications, including bloodstream infections and hospitalizations.
Experts have been warning for years that antibiotic resistance could be one of the biggest threats to humanity. The World Health Organization describes it as “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.”
The UKSHA’s Hopkins added take antibiotics when you don’t need them only puts you and your loved ones at risk in the future.
“As we head into winter, with the surging amounts of respiratory infections in circulation, it’s important to remember that antibiotics are not needed for symptoms. Stay at home if you feel unwell,” she said.
During the Covid pandemic, antibiotic-resistant bloodstream infections decreased. On Wednesday, New data published by the UKHSA showed such diseases falling from 65,583 in 2019 to 55,384 last year.