While the world’s attention remains focused on battling COVID-19, another global health crisis is intensifying — and it’s one that could change the way we treat simple infections, like strep throat, or go about doing routine surgeries, such as joint replacements.
t’s antibiotic resistance, and it’s “rising to dangerously high levels,” the World Health Organization (WHO) says. In the U.S. alone, more than 35,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant infections each year, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Globally, that number is at least 700,000, and by 2050, it could be 10 million, experts predict.
“People are calling it the silent pandemic,” says David Weiss, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Center at Emory University’s School of Medicine. “It’s more like a slow-developing chronic [issue], but it could definitely get to pretty epidemic proportions.”