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Antibiotic-resistant diseases pose 'apocalyptic' threat, top expert says

Published: January 24, 2013
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Source: Guardian

Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies tells MPs issue should be added to national risk register of civil emergencies

The hospital superbug MRSA

Hospital superbugs such as MRSA are some of the best know antibiotic-resistant diseases, but MPs were warned about infections such as gonorrhea and TB that affect the general population. Photograph: Getty Images

Britain's most senior medical adviser has warned MPs that the rise in drug-resistant diseases could trigger a national emergency comparable to a catastrophic terrorist attack, pandemic flu or major coastal flooding.

Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, said the threat from infections that are resistant to frontline antibiotics was so serious that the issue should be added to the government's national risk register of civil emergencies.

She described what she called an "apocalyptic scenario" where people going for simple operations in 20 years' time die of routine infections "because we have run out of antibiotics".

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