BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The CDC calls antibiotic resistant deaths a global health issue.
Some researchers predict that by the year 2050, antibiotic resistance will cause 10 million deaths every year, surpassing cancer as the leading cause of mortality worldwide.
Health experts like Dr. Edward Kahn with the Jefferson County Health Department are certainly aware of the issue locally.
“It’s an ongoing problem, but from what I can see, it’s not a highly increasing problem, but an ongoing problem we’re concerned with,” Dr. Kahn says. “Typically, it’s going to be related to utilization or overutilization of antibiotics and the bacteria become resistant to them by mutation,” he explains.
Referring to CDC statistics, Kahn says about there’s roughly two million cases a year of antibiotic resistant infections. Out of that, about 23,000 deaths occur.
As awareness of the issue has grown, he says many facilities have implemented measures to closely watch how often antibiotics are being prescribed and to address infection control.
“A health care worker, for example, is not going to carry a bacteria from one patient to another patient, make sure equipment being used is cleaned to minimize spread,” Dr. Kahn says.
But he also points out that many times, the numbers of deaths that occur can depend on the severity and complexity of illness and patients a facility sees.
He also says there are some diseases, like Gonorrhea for example, that have been deemed as having an urgent threat level of drug resistance