Monday, October 13, 2014

#12 October 13 2014. Preventable deaths—we are systematically undermining the effectiveness of antibiotics through overuse—and significant numbers of people are already dying as a result. It is going to get much worse—fast.




Talk show host Bill Maher regularly comments that we are poisoning ourselves through our food system—and there is increasing evidence that what he says is correct. We are not being poisoned in that we consume and then drop dead within minutes. The process, where our food is concerned, is more insidious.

We live sicker and die sooner than is necessary. Already it is noteworthy that the citizens of most other developed nations live three years longer than Americans—a fact that is rarely mentioned. Even our neighbors, the Canadians, live years longer. There is clearly something very wrong with our way of life. We already know some of the reasons.

  • Lack of exercise.
  • Lousy diet—with Fast Food in particular being a cause for concern, but with food, as a whole—even where not processed—being suspect. Apart from industry overuse of sugar, salt, and fats, there is antibiotic overuse..
  • A polluted environment.
  • Stressful working conditions—or, even worse, unemployment,
  • A deeply flawed and expensive healthcare system.

Our current practice of adding antibiotics to the food of the animals we raise for food—as a preventative measure to counter disease—is particularly egregious. It contaminates not only the meat itself, but also fruits, vegetables and other crops. How so? Because the manure from the animals is used to fertilize the land. You can be a zealous vegan and still become resistant to antibiotics.

The Center for Disease Control has articulated the antibiotic problem but has only issued entirely inadequate voluntary guidelines.

Let me quote from (a consistent source of excellent health information).

  • According to CDC statistics,8 two million Americans are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 of them die as a result of those infections.

    One organism alone—methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—already kills more Americans each year than the combined total of emphysema, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, and homicide.9

  • Use of antibiotics in healthy livestock (and farmed fish) account for about 80 percent of all antibiotic use in the US,10 making it the primary driver of this modern scourge. According to a 2009 FDA report,11 factory farms used 29 million pounds of antibiotics that year alone.

    A 2013 paper by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) titled "Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Pathogens,"12 report that between 1973 and 2011, there were 55 antibiotic-resistant foodborne outbreaks in the US. More than half of these outbreaks involved pathogens resistant to five or moreantibiotics.

  • Resistance to multiple drugs appears to be an inevitability of continued misuse of antibiotics. For example, some penicillin-resistant bacteria have also developed resistance to cephalosporins13 — broad-spectrum antibiotics that are very important for the treatment of human infections.

    One in 25 patients now end up with a hospital-acquired infection, and many of these infections are drug resistant. By continuing using antibiotics in agriculture, we allow simple infections to turn lethal, and make even minor routine surgeries very risky indeed.

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