The dirty dozen: UN issues list of 12 most worrying bacteria

FILE - In this Monday, May 17, 2010 file photo, Dr. Mansour Samadpour points out a growth of of salmonella in a petri dish at IEH Laboratories in Lake Forest Park, Wash. The World Health Organization has issued a list of the top dozen bacteria most dangerous to humans, warning that doctors are fast running out of treatment options. In a press briefing on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 the U.N. health agency said its list is meant to promote the development of medicines for the most worrying drug-resistant bacteria, including Salmonellae and Staphylococus aureus. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

LONDON — The World Health Organization has issued a list of the top dozen bacteria most dangerous to humans, warning that doctors are fast running out of treatment options.

In a press briefing on Monday, the U.N. health agency said its list is meant to promote the development of medicines for the most worrying drug-resistant bacteria, including salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

WHO's Marie-Paule Kieny said that if such priorities were left to market forces alone, "the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time." She estimated that it would take up to a decade for new medications.

WHO said the most-needed drugs are for germs that threaten hospitals, nursing homes and among patients who need ventilators or catheters. The agency said the dozen listed resistant bacteria are increasingly untreatable and can cause fatal infections; most typically strike people with weakened immune systems.

At the top of WHO's list is Acinetobacter baumannii, a group of bacteria that cause a range of diseases from pneumonia to blood or wound infections.

WHO's list was developed in collaboration with the University of Tubingen in Germany and according to criteria assessed by international experts.

Among the experts' and WHO's most pressing concerns were how deadly the infections were, whether treatment required a long hospital stay and how many current medicines exist.

In recent years, health officials have detected a few patients resistant to colistin, the antibiotic of last resort. So far, doctors have been able to treat them with other drugs.

But experts worry that the colistin-resistant bacteria will spread their properties to other bacteria already resistant to more commonly used antibiotics, creating germs that can't be killed by any known drugs.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 23,000 people die each year in the U.S. from infections caused by resistant bacteria.

You may also interested in

Welcome to your new office: A stranger's living...

Mar 2, 2017

The rise of self-employment and soaring office costs are fueling demand for shared office space in...

French shares outperform as polls show narrow...

Apr 20, 2017

France's main stock market outperformed its counterparts in Europe on Thursday as traders priced in...

The Latest: Researcher who helped halt...

May 14, 2017

Cyber security officials in Britain applaud young researcher for helping halt global ransomware...

Log in, look out: Cyber chaos may grow at...

May 15, 2017

Employees booting up computers at work Monday could see red as they discover they're victims of a...

Sweden drops case but WikiLeaks' Assange is not...

May 19, 2017

Swedish prosecutors have dropped their investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange,...

Sign up now!

About Us

Future Science Today reports on captivating developments in science, medicine, technology, and the world around us.

Contact us: sales[at]futuresciencetoday.com