A new report has revealed that 19 new forms of potentially deadly superbugs have been found in the UK.
Officials said bacteria that cause common infections of the blood, bladder, kidney, and bowels had evolved new variants that could defeat the last line of antibiotic defenses, risking an untreatable illness pandemic, according to The Times.
While disclosing their strategy to deal with the “urgent threats” of infectious diseases, Public Health England said its laboratories had identified the 19 “new genetic mechanisms of antibiotic resistance” over the past decade in 1,300 samples from patients from all over the U.K.
The mutant varieties of germs such as MRSA and gonorrhea were able to withstand all recognized antibiotics.
In the last year three cases of “super gonorrhea” have also been identified in the UK – the first, described by PHE as the world’s worst-ever case, was picked up in southeast Asia, while the other two cases were acquired in the UK, prompting concerns over the further spread of the disease.
Professor Chris Whitty, chief scientific adviser at the Department of Health, said: “Despite our arsenal of vaccines and antimicrobials infectious disease remains a real threat to public health. We are constantly faced with new threats and antimicrobial resistance is growing.”
Infected patients survived only because doctors used experimental combinations of unlicensed drugs in order to save their lives.
Officials estimate that approximately 5,000 patients die due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) each year.
Furthermore, Public Health England (PHE) has warned that unless the resistance crisis is addressed, the real toll may cross the estimates by a great margin, with ineffective antibiotics unable to treat diseases.
AMR occurs when the DNA of bacteria mutates, or where different types of bacteria acquire DNA off each other.
PHE confirmed its labs have received 1,300 samples of bacteria containing one of the 19 new resistance types from across the UK in the past 10 years.