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WHO reports global antibiotic problem

LONDON — Bacteria resistant to antibiotics have now spread to every part of the world and might lead to a future where minor infections could kill, according to a report published by the World Health Organization.

In its first global survey of the resistance problem, WHO said it found very high rates of drug-resistant E. coli bacteria, which causes problems including meningitis and infections of the skin, blood, and the kidneys. The agency noted there are many nations where treatment for the bug is useless in more than half of patients.

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WHO’s report found worrying rates of resistance in other bacteria, including common causes of pneumonia and gonorrhea.

Unless there is urgent action, ‘‘the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,’’ Dr. Keiji Fukuda, warned in a news release.

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