1. ITV Report

Tens of thousands of lives threatened by rise in drug-resistant superbugs, experts warn

Tens of thousands of lives are at risk from the rise in drug-resistant superbugs, which could make currently routine procedures and surgery increasingly dangerous, health experts have warned.

A forecast drawn up for the government estimates that a bacterial blood infection from a superbug resistant to existing drugs could affect a total of 200,000 patients - with up to 80,000 of those infected dying from the disease.

The report warns that even currently routine procedures could become 'high-risk' Credit: PA

The report by the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies argues that the number of infections complicated by superbugs is expected to rocket over the next 20 years.

An increasingly serious issue is the development and spread of AMR (antimicrobial resistance), which occurs when drugs are no longer effective in treating infections caused by micro-organisms.

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

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.

– National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies report
More research is needed into how to tackle antibiotic-resistant superbugs, health experts have warned Credit: PA

Both politicians and scientists have previously warned of the need to find a cure for resistant infections.

Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that superbugs posed a "very real and worrying threat" which could send medicine "back into the dark ages".

And last year, Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical examiner for England, said the world "simply cannot afford not to take action" to tackle the "alarming" rise in antibiotic resistance.