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The rising threat of antibiotic resistance: A guide for nurses

Margaret Perry explains the increasing presence of bacteria immune to conventional medicines

Antibiotic resistance is the term used to describe the failure of an antibiotic to treat the infection for which it has been prescribed because the bacteria has become resistant to the drug issued. This is not a problem confined to the UK alone, and affects many countries around the world. The concern is that as bacteria become increasing resistant to antibiotics, infections will be more severe and will take longer to treat, and the number of deaths arising as a result will also increase. The emergence of ‘superbugs’ is very concerning as they are resistant to treatment with any of the currently available antibiotics. The current scale of this global health disaster is reflected in the statistics which indicate that resistance is already killing 700,000 people a year, and it is predicted that it will cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050 if the current situation is not improved.1

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