The threat posed by antibiotic resistant bacteria is a real and present one, the World Health Organization warns.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when some bacteria change, rendering drugs that are meant to kill them useless or ineffective. Those bugs then survive and spread the resistance.
Wednesday’s report from the United Nations health agency showed antibiotic resistance in microbes that cause common and serious diseases such as urinary tract infections and pneumonia in all regions of the world.
"What it means, is that all of us, our family members, all of the persons in this room, our friends, when we are most vulnerable and in need of these medicines, there is a chance that they are simply not going to be available and we are not going to be able to have access to effective medical care in a number of instances," Dr. Keiji Fukuda, one of the agency's assistant directors-general, told reporters.
"A post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can kill, far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century," Fukuda said in the forward of the report."We already see cases where treatment has failed," Dr. Johan Struwe of the WHO’s antimicrobial resistance team said in an interview. "It's reported in tuberculosis; there are countries reporting untreatable gonorrhea as a result of drug resistance and it's well known in malaria where it's been around for quite a long time. So we see it already."
A child's scratched knee from falling off their bike, common bladder infections among the elderly in care homes and routine surgery to replace broken hips could all become fatal as antibiotics are becoming increasingly useless, the World Health Organisation has said.
The crisis is bigger and more urgent than the Aids epidemic of the 1980s, it was warned.
UK experts said the 'era of safe medicine is coming to an end' and government funds must be pumped into the production of new drugs.
He said modern medicine, from the treatment of urinary tract infections and pneumonia in babies to chemotherapy and kidney dialysis are under threat.
"This is not an abstract problem. We have a big problem now and it is going to get bigger.
"What do we do when we have infections we cannot treat or when we lose the ability to protect people when having chemotherapy? I think there are very concrete implications, " he said.
The report, Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance,focuses on antibiotic resistance in seven different bacteria responsible for common, serious diseases such as sepsis, diarrhoea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea.
It is the most comprehensive picture of drug resistance across the globe with data from 114 countries.
It found that antibiotic resistance is present in all areas of the world and is growing.
Over the last 30 years no new types of antibiotics have been developed, the WHO said.
China said on Wednesday it would conduct joint naval drills with Russia in the East China Sea off Shanghai in late May, in what it called a bid to deepen military co-operation.China alarmed Japan, South Korea and the United States last year when it announced an air defence identification zone for the East China Sea, covering the islands.
On 15 October 2003 China launched their first ‘taikonaut,’ the Chinese term for an astronaut, into space on the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft
This has been followed by further space exploration achievements, including an Earth-orbiting laboratory called Tiangong-1 and a lunar rover named Jade Rabbit.
But is it all a front to build anti-satellite technology? That’s what one expert warns we should be wary of, and not just from China, but Iran and North Korea as well.
In a paper called Dangerous Space Incidents, Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations explains how satellites could be under threat from the rising space exploration capabilities of certain nations.
Such fears are not without precedent; on 11 January 2007 China infamously carried out an anti-satellite missile test, destroying one of its own satellites at a height of 537 miles (865 kilometres).
Aside from resulting in thousands of pieces of dangerous space junk, which remain a problem today, the stunt also highlighted how under vulnerable some of the essential satellites run by Western nations are.
Zenko points to the large amounts of assets held by the US in space that could be prone to attack.
These include satellites for national and global security.
He says that, if a satellite were to be attacked either inadvertently or on purpose, it could fuel an international crisis.
‘The threats to US space assets are significant and growing,’ he writes, ‘as potential adversaries continue to pursue and could soon acquire counterspace capabilities.’
Given the high reliance of the US on satellites, he says the country needs to invest in mitigation measures in the event of an incident from one of a handful of protagonists.
‘Based on capabilities, intent and history of malicious or destabilising behaviour, the state most likely to undertake destabilising actions is China, followed by North Korea and Iran,’ Zenko continues.
Masked gunmen in military fatigues took control of a government building in another Ukrainian town on Wednesday, as pro-Russian separatists tightened their grip on a swathe of the country's industrial east largely unopposed by police.
Local media reports said the gunmen turned up at first light, and were later seen by a Reuters photographer to be controlling entry to the building in the town of almost 300,000 people. They refused to be photographed.
The heavily armed men wore the same military uniforms without insignia as other so-called "green men" who have joined pro-Russian protesters with clubs and chains in seizing control of a string of towns across Ukraine's Donbass coal and steel belt abutting the border with Russia.
A police official in nearby Donetsk, the provincial capital where separatists have declared a "People's Republic of Donetsk", said separatists were also in control of the Horlivka police division, having seized the regional police HQ earlier in April.