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Life-Threatening: UTI Is More Dangerous Than You Think

Mar 07, 2017 11:16 PM EST
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Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) has published a list of "antibiotic-resistant priority pathogens." The pathogens included on the list are those that affect human health the most and are thereby, needed to be addressed immediately. On top of their list is various Enterobacteriaceae including the E. coli, which causes 80% of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) cases.

UTI is the most common bacterial infection in the United States and it affects an estimated 250 million people each year. Usually, people who have UTI are prescribed with oral medicine. However, in the past years, doctors have resorted to antibiotics via catheters because oral medicine aren't already doing their purpose, WebMD notes.

"For UTIs in particular, intravenous injection of the antibiotic colistin is a last-ditch option-but resistance to colistin is emerging in India and China," Jenny Morber previously reported for NOVA Next 
She added that colistin resistance have defied antibiotics because farmers are using it to grow their produce.

New Scientist asserted that it is not as simple as prescribing new antibiotics in case the other one does not work. If it fails, the infection can spread into the kidneys and bloodstream, thus, becoming more life-threatening.

Other bacteria on the list of WHO, which was developed in collaboration with the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tübingen, Germany, are: Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas which cause blood infection and pneumonia; bacteria causing gonorrhoea and food poisoning caused by salmonella.

"This list is a new tool to ensure R&D responds to urgent public health needs," said Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO's Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation, in a statement. "Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time."

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