Nightly News   |  April 30, 2014

Drug-Resistant Bacteria Spreads Around the World

A new class of untreatable diseases are emerging, in part due to the over-use of antibiotics.

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>>> tonight, a big organization has a very powerful message for us. the world health organization wants us all try to treat antibiotics as serious medicine, not to be taken lightly. they say we take them so often for so many things on so many different occasions, that antibiotics are actually threatening the achievement of modern medicine because of all the things they no longer kill and because of the rise of so-called super bugs that antibiotics cannot touch. we get our report from dr. nancy snyderman .

>> reporter: kim's daughter was 25 and pregnant when she went into the hospital for routine gull bladder surgery.

>> we were reassured that many of these procedures had been done on pregnant women and it was really nothing to worry about.

>> reporter: but dianna picked up an infection called mrsa , resistant to antibiotics and died a few days after she gave birth.

>> that night i went back up to the hospital to hold her baby. i didn't know what else to do with myself.

>> reporter: mrsa kills 19,000 americans a year. that's more than aids. a report today by the u.n.'s world health organization says super bugs like mrsa are so serious they threaten the achievements of modern medicine post-antibiotic era. drug resistant tuberculosis is found in 92 countries around the world. it's an international call to action taken seriously by u.s. health officials.

>> it now spreads around the world with the speed of jet travel . if there is a resistant bacteria there, it's here tomorrow.

>> reporter: doctors warn that we need to be smarter about how antibiotics are prescribed and used.

>> the fact is things like colds don't get better with antibiotics but still prescribing it and doesn't provide any benefit.

>> reporter: the world health organization has practical suggestions. don't pressure your doctor to prescribe antibiotics. if you are given one, take as directed and complete the course so partially treated bacteria don't thrive and spread and don't take anybody else's medicine.

>> might as well look at dianna looking at these pictures.

>> reporter: for kim, her granddaughter bella is a daily reminder of this threat to modern medicine . we live in a culture where we overuse anti bacterial wipes and antibiotics are rampant in the food supply and it's creating a new class of untreatable diseases, not just here but places as far away as syria. it proposing a real problem for people.

>> serious business. nancy snyderman , as