Superbugs 'will send the health service back to 19th century': Even routine surgery could become deadly, warns top medical adviserDame Sally Davies warns over timebomb over antibiotic resistanceGPs will be ordered to prescribe fewer antibioticsDrug-resistant E-Coli could be responsible for 2,500 deathsCases of multidrug resistant tuberculosis rising

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Warning that ‘widespread’ AMR would be an ‘apocalyptic scenario’, Dame Sally has called for improved protection of our current stock of antibiotics, better incentives for the pharmaceutical industry to develop new drugs, and improved hygiene in hospitals.

But with antibiotics liberally used in agriculture, and available over the counter in many countries, these efforts will be undermined without a united global effort.

In 2010, infectious diseases accounted for 7 per cent of all deaths and 4 per cent of all potential years of life lost in England.

They also lose the economy a staggering 30billion a year in direct costs to the NHS and indirect costs to industry in terms of lost work hours.

Emeritus Professor Richard James, former director of the centre for healthcare associated infections at the University of Nottingham, called for ‘effective antibiotic stewardship to prevent the overuse/misuse of antibiotics’.

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