Deadly infectious disease outbreaks are occurring more often around the world.
Influenza virus circulated in the southern hemisphere and then spread to the U.S., killing about 80,000 people during this past flu season – the most in decades. Monkeypox, a rare disease outside of Africa, was found in three people in the United Kingdom for the first time. Ebola has broken out once again in Africa.
HuffPost’s Lauren Weber says this trend is the reason why infectious diseases is a mainstay of her beat as a public health reporter and why she has been able to cover the Ebola outbreak from Washington, D.C. Continue reading
A cup of coffee with a former journalist colleague led Rhode Island radio reporter Lynn Arditi down the path of reporting on “superbugs,” the term for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Arditi’s former colleague was working for LifeSpan, a large Rhode Island health system, and pitched her the story of a study authored by one of its lead researchers and infectious diseases specialists. The study was about the discovery of a set of compounds that could become a new class of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant bacteria. Continue reading
PHOENIX – To picture a future in which antibiotics no longer work, all we have to do is look at the past – at the United States before the 1940s when simple infections accounted for a third of all deaths.
“When an antibiotic resistance develops anywhere, it’s a threat to people everywhere,” said Elizabeth Jungman, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ public health programs, speaking at a panel on Friday at Health Journalism 2018 that painted a chilling but prescient view of what could happen if and when antibiotics stop working, and we don’t have enough new drugs in the pipeline. “We know what a post-antibiotic world could look like because we lived in a pre-antibiotic world.” Continue reading
Photo: CDC/Courtesy of Larry Stauffer, Oregon State Public Health LaboratoryA positive result of a phage test showing diminished growth (arrowhead) where a gamma phage suspension had been applied.
A desire to put a human face to antibiotic resistance led reporter Chris Dall to dig into the relatively unknown world of viral research aimed at killing superbugs.
Dall began investigating bacteriophages, which are viruses that kill bacteria, when he was assigned a story to write about a study that appeared in the scientific journal, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in August 2017. The report dryly described a method of using viruses to save a 68-year-old man, who was dying from an antibiotic-resistant infection. Continue reading
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