What you can do about antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Here’s some of links to articles about the growth of MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Quite a lot of interest in this given the recent paper by Dr. Monina Klevens et al at the CDC which concluded:

“Based on 8,987 observed cases of MRSA and 1,598 in-hospital deaths among patients with MRSA, we estimate that 94,360 invasive MRSA infections occurred in the United States in 2005; these infections were associated with death in 18,650 cases..”

And remember, this was in 2005–today the number is probably much higher.

Not any coverage of one of the most important causes of this phenomena, though. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have arisen so quickly largely because of the widespread use of antibiotics for veterinary uses, chiefly in the giant food factory farms. In these farms, animals are crowded together in disease-promoting conditions, so the only way to keep the animals from getting sick is to constantly feed them antibiotics. The bacteria that these animals are exposed to then become resistant to antibiotics, and through the process of horizontal genetic transfer, the germs that infect humans get the genes that they need to protect them against antibiotics. (See my previous post on this issue)

So, the AMA warned before against the use of the newer generation of antibiotics in animals, and is, along with 12 other health organizations, warning about this again, now that the pharmaceutical industry has asked the government for permission to use the very newest class of antibiotics on animals. These are our last-ditch antibiotics, and if bacteria become resistant to these, the number of fatal infections will increase, warns the AMA.

So the government is going to look out for the interests of its citizens and NOT approve the request by the pharma industry to make these last ditch antibiotics available to the cattle industry, right? Think again:

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What you can do about antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Ignorance is Strength

As noted in the previous post, there are some slight ripples in the American Press that indicates the American Press Corps has finally woken up. The ‘question as a headline’ phenomena is certainly a good start. But I believe we are about to find out if the press is capable of doing its job, because, as covered in the BBC, the USA is in the process of committing a criminal action of neglect, that if unchecked and uncorrected, will surely lead to the premature deaths of millions. And of course the USA is isolated from the rest of the global community. This is an important story, but question is: Will there be a special tilt in the USA media?

E_F does find a bit of a tilt. It seems slight at first, but, as headlines do often form the reader’s first impressions, they are telling. The BBC headline is “US opposes G8 climate proposals” which gives one the (correct) impression that the USA is going it alone, vs. the New York Times headline reads: “U.S. rejects German proposal to cut carbon emissions” which gives the impression that its USA vs. Germany, or perhaps WWII redux, which is an awfully comforting subtext to a message that should be rather unsettling.

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Ignorance is Strength