U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Alexander Fleming developed penicillin, the first antibiotic, in 1928. In less than a century, scientists have developed more than 130 other antibiotics — saving millions of lives, making surgery safer than ever, transforming medicine … and creating the huge new problem of antibiotic resistance that threatens to toss us back into the pre-antibiotic era.
Take gonorrhea for just one example: humans have gone from having no way to treat the disease in the 1920s to having effective antibiotics against it to now, when the “bacteria has developed resistance to nearly every drug used for treatment,” according to the CDC. Continue reading
A report released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration showed that an increasing number of Americans infected with the foodborne pathogen, salmonella, are resistant to multiple antibiotics.
In 2015, multidrug resistance rose to 12 percent of salmonella cases, from 9 percent the year before, the FDA said. Eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry or egg products can cause salmonella infection. Continue reading
The rise of deadly, drug-resistant superbugs is one of the world’s most pressing public health concerns. The dangerous development is driven by overuse and misuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture, resulting in a dramatic increase in people infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
By 2050, 10 million people globally could die from drug-resistant bugs, which could lead to a loss of productivity of $100 trillion. Continue reading
In the latest installment of the Toxic Waters series, The New York Times‘ Charles Duhigg turns his investigative spotlight toward agricultural runoff and the havoc it has wrought upon water supplies around the country.
According to Duhigg, “runoff from all but the largest farms is essentially unregulated by many of the federal laws intended to prevent pollution and protect drinking water sources” and regulation and enforcement are instead left up to local authorities, who often lack the necessary resources.
Duhigg makes the scope of the contamination clear:
“Agricultural runoff is the single largest source of water pollution in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the E.P.A. An estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from waterborne parasites, viruses or bacteria, including those stemming from human and animal waste, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.”
In the end, Duhigg seems to indicate that the only real hope of reigning in this contamination lies in overcoming powerful, entrenched ag interests and giving the E.P.A. broader powers to regulate agriculture.