(WASHINGTON) -- As bacteria evolve to evade antibiotics, infections that were once easily cured could become deadly. According to Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, "things as common as strep throat or a child's scratched knee could once again kill."
"We are losing our first-line antimicrobials," Chan said March 14 in her keynote address at the conference on combating antimicrobial resistance. "Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units."
Once thought to be relegated to hospitals and nursing homes, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are invading communities worldwide. ABC News asked infectious disease experts which superbugs pose the biggest threats.
They listed five:
The Original Superbug: Staphylococcus Aureus
The Hospital Lurkers: Clostridium Difficile and Acinetobacter
The Food Borne Bugs: Escherichia Coli and Salmonella
The Sexually-Transmitted Infections: Gonorrhea and Chlamydia
The Global Threat: Tuberculosis
"We live in a very small world today," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of prevention at Vanderbilt University Medical Center., explaining how travelers can import antibiotic resistant bacteria from developing countries. "It's a very small word and the bacteria do not need passports."
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio