In recent years, antibiotic misuse has accelerated the natural process of bacterial resistance, rendering some antibiotics useless and causing experts to warn that we are at the “dawn of a post-antibiotic era” that amounts to a health threat on par with terrorism.
The US has its own serious problem with antibiotic-resistant infections: They’re associated with 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses every year. We’ve already seen a number of different ones — gonorrhea, CREs, strains of tuberculosis — no longer respond to any of the drugs we have.
Though these situations are still rare, experts have warned that they are likely to become more common in the near future. A recent report commissioned by the UK government contains an alarming prediction: By 2050, antimicrobial-resistant infections will kill 10 million people across the world — more than the current toll from cancer.