United Nations estimates of 10 million people a year dying of infection due to antibiotic resistance is just the tip of the iceberg. A resurgence of diseases such as plague would add millions to that tally because the UN have based their calculations of mortality rates on what is happening now…they have not accounted for the knock on effects such as pandemics occurring that previously could have been dealt with and economies failing because of the lack of workers and the burden those unfit to work will place on economies.
Within 35 years an estimated 10 million people a year will be dying from antibiotic resistant infections. Currently that figure is around 700,000 a year.
I am not talking about rare infections here, I’m talking about common, everyday infections that we are losing the ability to fight.
If you take into account the amount of surgical procedures that will be too dangerous to perform, the death toll rises well above that 10 million as people die from conditions that were formerly treatable with surgery…they just may get a while longer if they let nature take it’s course. Bowel surgery, C.sections, joint replacements and chemotherapy all HAVE to be covered by antibiotics either before or during the surgery/treatment, such is the risk of infection.
Then there is the economic cost of people being absent from work due to previously treatable illnesses and the debility caused by joints that should have been replaced.
It should be remembered that it’s not just antibiotics that we are becoming resistant to. Antivirals, antimalarial drugs and antifungals.
The gains we have made in the last century will be all but wiped out in little more than three decades if something isn’t done and fast.
Member countries of The United Nations, meeting this week in New York, have pledged to step up the fight of over prescribing of these drugs, encourage ways to develop new antibiotics and raise awareness of how to prevent antibiotic resistance.
What a load of crap.
Getting people to sign a piece of paper saying they will do these things is very different to actually getting these things done. Also it doesn’t go far enough. The medical profession and governments around the world have known about this problem for at least a decade and nothing has been done. They have had chances to engage with pharmaceutical companies and haven’t.
Big Pharma is also to blame…they want the cash and will hold out until the money ploughed in by desperate governments is high enough…even though they have most likely already started work on the problem they will hold out to squeeze every last cent they can from the situation.
Farmers continue to put antibiotics into animal feed, causing the passive dosing of humans. In addition the manure the treated livestock produces lowers soil quality which lowers yields of food crops.
All of these factors leave us floundering. we face a life where a simple infection from an ingrowing toenail can kill us. Where having a child by caesarean section becomes a lottery of life and death for mother and baby alike.
TB will once again become endemic…it’s well on the way already with numerous cases of TB that stubbornly remains unaffected by modern chemical interventions.
Plague, which still throws up a couple of hundred cases a year in the United States will not be halted and epidemics can and will occur if we don’t address the problem.
I assure you I’m not scaremongering here. These are simple facts. We need to be producing something, anything that can control ‘superbugs’ knocking them out before they can take a hold and spread.
More research needs to be done on substances that we can readily produce, such as colloidal silver which has proved itself reliable with some infections but has not been studied with MRSA, C.difficile and drug resistant TB.
Vitamin C has also got a place in building our immune systems which makes it harder for infection to get a foothold but it doesn’t clear existing infections and has no effect against malaria et al.
Our worries about devastating flu pandemics are well placed, but we need to start considering other diseases as having distinct pandemic possibilities. I would never considered even just 10 years ago that we could be facing a plague pandemic in the 21st century. I wouldn’t have considered that bacterial tonsillitis could once again start killing children. That a simple infected spot or a small mouth abscess could turn into septicemia and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.
The 10 million deaths mentioned at the United Nations meeting is based on what we know NOW.
- It doesn’t take into account emerging diseases, it can’t as those diseases aren’t here yet.
- It doesn’t take into account mutation of bacteria and viruses that cause these infections. Mutation can cause a mild condition to change into a killer in a relatively short space of time. Mutation can also allow a disease, such as H5N1 to develop human to human transmission ability
- It doesn’t account for the increasing geographical range of mosquitoes or even ticks.
- It doesn’t take into account the year on year rise in global travel that can bring diseases from one country to another in a matter of hours.
It’s fine to talk about antibiotics purely in terms of human health but the whole story extends way beyond that.
- We are talking about a breakdown of healthcare systems across the globe as they are increasingly unable to treat patients.
- We are talking of lowered crop yields which will give rise to even more Frankenseeds to try and make up the deficit.
- We are talking of economies taking a hit due to workers not being able to work.
- We are talking about massive rises in unemployment and the associated taxpayer costs in the form of entitlements and benefits.
- We are talking about families of sick workers going hungry as economies crumble and ultimately become unable to keep up with entitlement payments.
The United Nations eliciting a pledge from 193 countries doesn’t impress me. Actions speak louder than words and action is what we need and we need it now.