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Drug-resistant superbug outbreak could kill 80,000

By Neil Lancefield

Published 07/04/2015

Up to 80,000 people could die in an outbreak of a drug-resistant infection because of new superbugs, a Government forecast has warned.

The report estimates that a total of 200,000 people would be expected to be infected by a widespread bacterial blood infection that could not be treated effectively with existing drugs.

Over the next two decades the number of infections complicated by superbugs are expected to rise significantly, according to a Cabinet Office document.

The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, which provides guidance on potential threats such as terror, flu and natural disasters, notes that routine medical treatments could become "high-risk" because of the growing resistance to antibiotics. The report states: "Much of modern medicine (for example, organ transplantation, bowel surgery and some cancer treatments) may become unsafe due to the risk of infection. In addition, influenza pandemics would become more serious without effective treatments."

The assessment, continues: "The numbers of infections complicated by AMR (antimicrobial resistance) are expected to increase markedly over the next 20 years.

"If a widespread outbreak were to occur, we could expect around 200,000 people to be affected by a bacterial blood infection that could not be treated effectively with existing drugs, and around 80,000 of these people might die."

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