The dramatic rise in cases of antibiotic-resistant bacteria could get “out of control” unless urgent action is taken, a senior NHS official has reportedly warned.
In 2006, there were just five cases where patients failed to respond to even so-called “last resort” antibiotics, but last year that number was 600, prompting health officials to warn of a “national health threat”.
A report by Public Health England (PHE) said health workers should be trained on the dangers of over-prescribing the drugs and the importance of hygiene, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Dr Paul Cosford, medical director of PHE, said the problem was “out of control” in some countries.
“We need to act swiftly to avoid getting into the situation which has been seen in some other countries, such as Greece, Israel and the United States, where there is significant resistance,” he said.
“These infections are already causing national concern due to the observed increasing trends in the number of infections, outbreaks and clusters across England.”
Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, has previously compared the risk to the UK from antibiotic resistance with terrorism.
“Antibiotic resistance poses a real threat to our ability to treat diseases,” she said. “Systems of monitoring for resistant bacteria are essential in safeguarding the effect of our antibiotics.”