According to numbers put up by a new report published in The Lancet, a 30% fall in the efficacy of antibiotics in the United States might be responsible for more than 6,000 deaths every year. The report said that the majority of these additional deaths will happen in individuals undergoing colorectal surgery, hip replacements, and blood cancer chemotherapy.

The UK experts associated with the study have confirmed that they are worried that antibiotic resistance will start affecting routine surgery. In words of the chief medical officer of England, this issue is a “ticking time bomb”.

The Lancet report includes estimations made by a research team consisted of scientists representing several American institutions. They are saying that almost 50% of all bacteria which cause post-surgical infections are resistant to antibiotics used in the United States. Also, according to these scientists, one in every four infections treated using antibiotics after chemotherapy has now become drug-resistant.

Before writing the report, researchers tried to find out what might have happened to individuals undergoing standard operations and receiving chemotherapy for cancer if the rate of antibiotic resistance augmented by one-third from what it’s now. They found that in such a scenario the United States would have seen 120,000 more bacterial infections and as many as 6,300 additional deaths every year.

Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan, the lead author of the study and the director of the Washington DC-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, said that antibiotics had been the pillar of modern medicine, but declining efficacy of these drugs is imposing a serious challenge to doctors, health workers, and health officials. To help people understand the problem better, he said that antibiotic resistance is dangerous as it’s diminishing the value of modern medicine.

Prof. Laxminarayan informed that a large number of newborns in developing countries and a significant number of elderly people in developed countries were already dying due to antibiotic resistance.  He added that as the elderly population will increase, they will be having more surgeries and will become more susceptible to develop infections. Prof. Laxminarayan wants health officials and health workers to develop fresh strategies for preventing and controlling antibiotic resistance both at international and national levels.