07 Jun New Zealand Faces Growing Antimicrobial Resistance
WELLINGTON, May 20 (Xinhua) — New Zealand is in no way insulated from the global growth in antimicrobial resistance that is predicted to kill more than 10 million people worldwide every year by 2050 and to have major impacts on animal health, the Royal Society of New Zealand has warned in a recent news release.
According to the latest report published by the New Zealand national science institute in May many microbes that commonly cause infectious diseases in humans and animals are becoming resistant to the medicines people use to treat these diseases.
These microbes include viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites and cause illnesses such as skin and urinary tract infections, pneumonia and tuberculosis, said the report.
“Microbes have become resistant to the medicines we have used to treat them ever since we started using medicines, but the problem is we are running out of medicines that work. The cupboard is now bare,” said Siouxsie Wiles, a microbiologist from the University of Auckland, a Royal Society Councilor and an expert adviser in the report.
Wiles cited an example last year in the United States which was “the first case of an infection in a patient with a completely resistant organism.” The patient died after doctors tried 26 different antibiotics, none of which worked and there was nothing left to try.
Even New Zealand’s relative geographic isolation can not offer protection.
“In New Zealand, we are as vulnerable as the rest of the world. We have higher rates of many infectious diseases than countries like the United States, Britain and Australia and a growing number of those organisms are becoming resistant to our medicines,” Wiles said.
Every time people travel overseas, there are opportunities to bring resistant organisms back into New Zealand, said he, adding that people are also breeding them, especially by the way of using and abusing antibiotics.