The World Health Organization is a United Nations agency that investigates into international public health. One of its major projects made the complete eradication of smallpox possible. Its present targets include communicable diseases such as HIV, malaria, Ebola, controlling the effects of non-communicable diseases, aging, development, nutrition, substance abuse, and others. The organization has just released a one of a kind list. This is the first time when an agency managed to track down priority pathogens that became resistant to antibiotics and pose a real threat to humanity.
The WHO list contains three categories of priority pathogens that are ranked by the urgency of new antibiotics. Officials stated that the purpose of this document is to raise awareness about this public health enemy and urge specialists to start researching for new drugs. The list shares many similarities with a 2013 report created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 4-year-old research named two dozen antibiotic-resistant bugs. One of the conclusions was that if the U.S. doesn’t act quickly, these superbugs can lead to catastrophic effects.
All 12 priority pathogens were found responsible for hundreds of thousands of severe cases that happen annually. They can cause high mortality rates, especially in hospital treatments. These 12 viruses target patients in intensive care or those who have to use blood catheters and ventilators. People who go through chemotherapy or transplant surgeries can also fall victim to these microbes.
Researchers categorized carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, CRE for short, as one of the top priority microbes that received the nickname of nightmare bacteria. Reports show that people infected with this virus have 50% chances of survival. One of the most concerning cases was recorded last year when a senior Nevada citizen had an infection induced by CRE for which none of the 26 antibiotics that are legal in the United States worked.
The second and third tier of the list cover superbugs that are not as fatal as the others, yet they are still capable of serious health and economic impact. These are usually responsible for common health issues, like gonorrhea and food poisoning triggered by Salmonella. On the other hand, the list didn’t cover other widely spread diseases such as tuberculosis, as other programs are dedicated to mitigating them.
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