CDC issues stern warning: a new/old era dawns for antibiotics

Soon, anti-biotics will not be effective for even minor infection. Photo: AP graphic

WASHINGTON, September 17, 2013 — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has issued an unusual and terse warning that the dawn of the era of ineffective anti-biotic use is beginning now.

Approximately 2 million people per year develop anti-biotic resistant infections and 23,000 people die annually from ineffective anti-biotic treatment.

This problem stems from over-prescribing from physicians and the practice of introducing anti-biotics to farm animals, particularly those destined for human consumption. This is such a serious issue that the CDCP has declared society may return to the days when people died from ordinary infections.

In 2007, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated over 100,000 people died from infection received while in a hospital. Currently, it is unclear how many of those deaths are the result of drug resistant infection.

The government has estimated 70 percent of anti-biotic use is in industrial farm animal use and is reported to be taking steps to stop the practice and declared the practice is “Unnecessary and inappropriate.”

Physicians know anti-biotic use is ineffective for flu, virus and colds yet they are under substantial pressure from patients to prescribe then anyway. Educating the masses is a difficult chore when the sick believe what stands between feeling ill and not feeling ill is a prescription for an anti-biotic. Many physicians write them for no other reason than the placebo effect and to not disappoint a patient.

The Missouri Department of Health claims when anti-biotics are administered, sensitive bacteria die but anti-biotic resistant germs are left to multiply, grow and strengthen.

According to Tufts University, some bacteria are naturally resistant to some types of anti-biotics, however, other bacteria can rapidly, genetically mutate to stay alive.

E-Coli belongs to a family of drug resistant bacteria and with 9,000 hospital contracted infections from this family of bacteria, about 50 percent of those infected die because there is nothing to treat them with.

A huge problem is drugs designed to kill bad bacteria also kills good bacteria and leave the ill open to other infections. Eating yogurt is a good way to restore good bacteria and probiotic help as well but there is no data on how many people listen and take this advice.

While animal issues are being addressed as is prescription use, the best way to avoid problems on a personal basis is to maintain a high level of personal hygiene particularly keeping hands clean and food fresh and safe.

If the current trend continues, the general population will be at risk of death from simple infection negating advances in treatment and setting the medical clock back 100 years.

 

Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and psychotherapist

 

 

 


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