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We need to address a misuse of antibiotics: BC's top doc

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC’s top doctor has a warning of his own, as a new report suggests a superbug outbreak in the United Kingdom could kill tens of thousands of people due to an increasing resistance to antibiotic drugs.

That report from the British government suggests if there was a widespread outbreak of drug resistant bacteria in that country, as many as 80,000 people could die.

Antibiotic drugs are losing their effectiveness, largely due to misuse right here at home, says Dr. Perry Kendall.

“At some point in the not-too-distant future, you could go into a hospital for a simple operation, you get an infection [and we’re] unable to cure it, so you’re back in the pre-penicillin era in the 19th century,” says Kendall.

People needlessly taking them for viral infections and farmers using them as a preventative tools on their livestock on a mass scale, he says, are the main culprits.

“Going into a hospital for an appendectomy or a tonsillectomy or a simple surgical procedure, if you get infected, and the antibiotics don’t work, then this could become life-threatening,” says Kendall.

Just last week, a government report here indicated 18,000 Canadians are infected with drug resistant bacteria each year.