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You, drug-resistant superbugs, and what's for dinner?

July 1, 2015

Tags: Superbugs, antibiotic-resistance, drug-resistant bacteria, Maryn McKenna

Updated June 2018. Just learning about superbugs and antibiotic resistance? Listen to Maryn McKenna's TED talk and then read her oeuvre (links below) and more on the subject. Start with What do we do when antibiotics don't work anymore? "Penicillin changed everything. Infections that had previously killed were suddenly quickly curable. Yet as Maryn McKenna shares in this sobering talk, we've squandered the advantages afforded us by that and later antibiotics. Drug-resistant bacteria mean we're entering a post-antibiotic world — and it won't be pretty. There are, however, things we can do ... if we start right now." Listen and/or read transcript. (March 2015)
Superbugs in Your Supper (More, March 2015) Whenever you eat chicken or beef, you’re probably also eating a side order of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Learn how to protect yourself.
How Your Chicken Dinner Is Creating a Drug-Resistant Superbug (Maryn McKenna, The Atlantic, 7-11-01) Continuing to treat urinary tract infections as a short-term, routine ailment rather than a long-term food safety issue risks turning the responsible bacteria into a major health crisis.
The Meat Industry Refuses to Track Drugs on America’s Farms—and It’s Making Superbugs Worse (Maryn McKenna, Mother Jones, 7-14-17) Alternatives to antibiotics exist, but farmers have no way to know when to use them.
Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future (Maryn McKenna, Medium). After 85 years, antibiotics are growing impotent. So what will medicine, agriculture and everyday life look like if we lose these drugs entirely? (Produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent, non-profit news organization producing investigative reporting on food, agriculture and environmental health.)
Maryn McKenna's archive (she's the go-to source for information on superbugs)

A little something extra in case you aren't concerned enough about our ability to treat serious infection:
Sepsis, defined (Sepsis Alliance) sep•sis -- "Sometimes called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body's often deadly response to infection....Sepsis has been named as the most expensive in-patient cost in American hospitals in 2011 at over $20 billion each year. Forty percent of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis do not survive. Until a cure for sepsis is found, early detection is the surest hope for survival. Up to 50% of survivors suffer from post-sepsis syndrome."
Links to more stories about sepsis "Sepsis can rage in response to incidents as seemingly benign as a playground scrape or a nicked cuticle from the beauty parlor."--Sepsis Alliance
Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA by Maryn McKenna

And then, new horizons:
Swapping Germs: Should Fecal Transplants Become Routine for Debilitating Diarrhea? (Maryn McKenna, Scientific American,11-2-11) A potentially beneficial but unusual treatment for serious intestinal ailments may fall victim to regulatory difficulties