Antibiotic-resistance is jumping boundaries
Today’s news is that antibiotic-resistant infections kill one person in the United States every 15 minutes, this from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most people think this is just a threat, but the CDC’s news is that anti-biotic resistance is already here, among us, Americans and Canadians.
Both our societies are deep in fear of any sort of germs, even helpful ones. So we kill everything we can with a range of cleaners and detergents which wipe out all microbes, including those which defend us. They are our front-line defense, right in our guts, but we lose their natural and assisted resistance by killing everything. And then our farmers pump livestock with antibiotics, as a growth-promoter as much as a barrier to infection. Some scientists say that there is no hope for us because, as microbes multiply and evolve (very quickly), our own defenses remain static – and weakened from within. Now there is a new threat. Resistance is jumping to other species of microbes.
There is good news – this is a 30% drop since 2013, thanks to improvements in how hospitals respond to resistant germs. The bad news is that outside hospitals superbugs are increasing, with the big danger that drug resistance is spreading more often between different germs. The CDC names five microbes as urgent threats, including drug-resistant gonorrhoea. Sounds terrible – will that make us pay attention?