WHO Publishes First List of 'Priority' Pathogens

On February 27, 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report listing 12 families of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health worldwide. As more and more types of bacteria develop resistance to antimicrobial medications, new antibiotics are needed to fight infection. This report is meant to serve as a guide for researching and developing new medicines.

The WHO's list is divided into three categories according to urgency: critical, high, and medium. The highest priority is for bacteria listed in the critical category, including multidrug resistant types that pose a significant threat in hospitals and nursing homes and among patients who require medical devices like ventilators and catheters.

Increasingly drug-resistant bacteria that cause more common diseases—gonorrhea, and food poisoning caused by salmonella, for example—are categorized as high- or medium-priorities. Types of bacteria that have not yet developed antibiotic resistance, such as streptococcus and chlamydia are not included on the list.

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Sourced from: World Health Organization