The world has recently seen a surge in deadly new diseases and an increased risk of global outbreaks. Some 38 new diseases — including avian flu, West Nile virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and mad cow disease — have appeared since 1973. Further, 20 diseases that had been suppressed — including malaria and tuberculosis — are again on the rise.
Resistance to antibiotic drugs is a key reason for the re-emergence of many suppressed diseases. Other problems, such as inappropriate prescriptions and poor adherence to treatment, have triggered the resurgence in tuberculosis, cholera, and other diseases previously thought to be under control.
Today, existing antibiotics are not always successful in treating new strains of these illnesses. Research is needed to identify drugs that can work effectively against new super bugs, along with aggressive, well-coordinated measures to contain current outbreaks.
Video from the Series: Learn more about the dangers of delaying a comprehensive response to drug-resistant superbugs.