United Nations, SWFL doctors combat antibiotic resistance

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — More than 700 people die each year from antibiotic resistance. People end up developing this resistance because they often take antibiotics to cure viruses that can be cured on their own, such as a cold or a flu.

Wednesday marks only the fourth time in history the United Nations General Assembly has held a meeting on combating the health threat of antibiotic resistance, which doctors say could soon cause more deaths than cancer.

A local mother, Theresa Vargas, believes in keeping her son off antibiotics as much as possible.

“I don’t think they should be given every single time for every single thing. Your body does build up an immunity to them,” Vargas said. “It not only kills the bad germs, but it kills the good ones.”

But other parents want to treat their kids fast.

“If we feel it is severe enough to warrant medication, we have no problems giving him antibiotics,” Omar Morales, a Fort Myers father, said.

Even though parents just want what’s best for their children, medical professional fear antibiotics are being prescribed too often.

“The concern is that more and more bacteria could becoming antibiotic resistant and the number of deaths will increase,” said Lee County Memorial Hospital pediatrician Dr. Annette St. Pierre-Mackoul.

Doctors say the UN meeting is long overdue and is necessary to find a way to use prescription drugs in a more responsible way.

The UN General Assembly has only met three other times — twice in 2011 for HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases and once in 2-14 for the Ebola crisis.

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