Antibiotic resistance is now considered a global, immediate health threat by the World Health Organization.
This means the global population has built up a resistance to antibiotics that treat bacterial infections like E.coli , pneumonia and staff infections.
While antibiotics are life-saving drugs, years of abuse and overuse are leaving healthcare providers with few choices to fight dangerous bacterial infections.
Baptist Medical Center South Pharmacist and Antimicrobial Stewardship Coordinator Melanie Hyte says antibiotic resistance isn't a new problem, but manufacturers combated the issue in the past by developing stronger, broad-spectrum antibiotics until now.
"The government is offering incentives to drug manufacturers to create new antibiotics. The problem is they've exhausted every mechanism possible to fight bacterial infections," Hyte said.
Hyte says patients must be aware of this growing issue and ask physicians to confirm they have a bacterial infection before antibiotics are prescribed.
"We have had simple infections that could be treated easily and now there's a lot of difficulty trying to cure those," Hyte said.
The antibiotic era has created superbugs and drug-resistant strains of bacteria that are harder or impossible to control. It could lead to a faster spread of diseases and higher death rates.
"We don't want to get back to the point where we were before antibiotics were created, where nothing was effective," Hyte said.
Hyte says patients can help guard against this issue by taking the complete dose when they are prescribed antibiotics. If the prescription isn't finished, all the harmful bacteria won't be eradicated and will likely become more resistant.
Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive