By Sy Mukherjee
November 8, 2018

There’s a $65 billion threat to U.S. health care. It’s microscopic—and it could be fixed with some pretty modest funding, according to a new OECD report.

The threat at hand is antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which, as the name implies, are able to ward off common medications meant to kill bacteria. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that resistant strains of STIs like gonorrhea are on the rise. Other medical experts have warned that the looming threat of superbugs is a “ticking time bomb” that must be addressed.

The thing is, addressing the threat may not even be all that expensive, says the OECD. In fact, it would cost just $2 per person per year—not exactly an exorbitant figure given that the group also projects that antimicrobial resistant infections could kill 30,000 Americans annually by 2050.

Just how might we fight this microbial threat? The report authors outline some broad ideas.

“A five-pronged assault on antimicrobial resistance—by promoting better hygiene, ending the over-prescription of antibiotics, rapid testing for patients to determine whether they have viral or bacterial infections, delays in prescribing antibiotics and mass media campaigns—could counter one of the biggest threats to modern medicine,” wrote the study authors.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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