The End of The Age of Antibiotics?
The United States and many other countries around the world often serves up food to the population that has a little something extra in it. For it is the standard procedure for any large production farm to give substantial amounts of antibiotics to their livestock for investment reasons such as durability, survival, and growth. But these medications don't stay with the animal; these can be transferred to us when we eat them.
As antibiotics become introduced to our system, there is a chance that it can disrupt our natural bodies defenses. But as we are taking non-medical doses of it, all that really happens is that we weed out the weakest bacteria and in doing so refine the strain into a group of the strongest bacterium. This new strain gets out and around and is no longer affected by the same medicine, even in normal doses. So stronger doses are administered, to us and to the animals we raise and eat. It gets back to us and once again, and we help toughen it up. This goes on and on and after awhile, you end up with KPC-Oxa 48. This particular bacterial strain found it's way to a New Zealand man named Brian Pool and couldn't ever be dealt with. The man was quarantined and was never allowed to leave for fear that it might spread to someone else. He ended up succumbing to the disease 6 months later and is know known to be one of the first victims of what has been called the post-antibiotic era.
“It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them… There is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”
- Alexander Flemming, discoverer of penicillin
Now, that might not really hold much merit on it's own. But when you take into consideration what antibiotics can and have done for global health, it will change the way we live our lives. An average scrape on the knee could potentially be life threatening. One of the first recipients of penicillin was a man who was so severely infected his scalp oozed pus and he had to have an eye removed. He became this ill from the result of a scratch on the face from a rose bush and subsequently perished. Without effective antibiotics things like child birth and surgery would be extremely risky; treatments that suppress your immune system like chemo-therapy would be almost impossible to pull off. Modern medicine would be completely changed until we found something as significant as what antibiotics used to be. While we aren't overwhelmed with bacterium like this as of yet, this is a rather ominous sign of things to come if constant over-exposure to antibiotics keeps up on this same trend.