UK forecast warns of outbreak of drug-resistant bugs that could kill 80,000 people

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

According to the report, a widespread bacterial blood infection may infect 200,000 people, effective treatment of which may not possible with existing drugs.

A Cabinet Office document projects that over the next two decades the number of infections complicated by superbugs may be expected to increase significantly.

According to the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, which provides guidance on potential threats such as terror, flu and natural disasters, routine medical treatments could become "high-risk" due to 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."

According to figures released by the Cabinet Office previously effective drugs would become useless in the face of resistant bugs, causing a surge in the number of sufferers of illnesses such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Figures issued by the Cabinet Office warn that previously effective antibiotic drugs will become useless in the face of resistant bugs, causing a surge in the number of illnesses such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.

The annual National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies, which assessed the challenges posed by terrorism, natural disasters, disease and industrial strife, had for the first time included the dangers of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The report says, "Without effective antibiotics, even minor surgery and routine operations could become high-risk procedures, leading to increased duration of illness and ultimately premature mortality."

Infections resistant to antibiotic drugs killed 25,000 people annually across Europe. People infected by resistant super bugs were also likely to stay longer in hospitals and may need intensive care, pushing up costs.