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A worker checks out a chick at a poultry farm in Hefei, eastern China's Anhui province on November 20, 2015. Scientists warned of the "epidemic potential" of deadly and fast-spreading bacteria resistant to last-line antibiotics. The superbugs were detected during routine health testing of pigs and chickens in southern China. The animals were found to be carrying bacteria resistant to colistin, an antibiotic widely used in livestock farming. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Our best medicines are losing their power. Since the 1940s, antibiotics have stopped infections from turning deadly, saving millions of lives around the world. Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, surgery was more dangerous, now-curable diseases like STDs and tuberculosis killed millions, and a paper cut could be fatal. However, overuse and misuse of these drugs have led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of “superbugs.” Older types of antibiotics have been rendered useless by these powerful bacteria, compelling researchers to develop new generations of stronger varieties. Now those newer drugs are losing their effectiveness as well, and the World Health Organization has raised the alarm: We are running out of cures.

"Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO. "There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery."

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