CDC official: It is now too late, the age of antibiotics is over
CDC official declares antibiotics no longer effective.
An official with the CDC has a serious warning for the world. We are now living in an age where antibiotics can no longer cure serious diseases. We may soon see the reemergence of deadly versions of previously well-controlled diseases because of the overuse of antibiotics.
Dr. Arjun Srinivasan told Frontline, For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about 'The end of antibiotics, question mark?' Well, now I would say you can change the title to 'The end of antibiotics, period.'"
Dr. Arjun Srinivasan is the associate director of the CDC, so his words carry tremendous weight. Without hyperbole, we can confidently say that based on his remarks, we are on the very precipice of a new age of medical impotency where bacteria will once again claim lives by the thousands-if not millions.
Dr. Srinivasan explained that the overuse of antibiotics in both humans and livestock is to blame.
Americans in particular are fond of antibiotics and commonly ask for them, even if they do not need them. Doctors, afraid of disappointing their patients, frequently prescribe them too.
"We are in the post-antibiotic era," the doctor said. "There are patients for whom we have no therapy, and we are literally in a position of having a patient in a bed who has an infection, something that five years ago even we could have treated, but now we can't."
Dr. Srinivasan mentioned MERS as an example and how doctors are increasingly seeing it outside of hospitals.
The problem is that antibiotics rarely kill every bacteria associated with an infection. It takes white blood cells and the rest of the immune system to help finish the job. Bacteria, just like any organism, enjoy genetic variation. Although each example of a bacteria is the same strain, there are minor differences between each individual cell, much like no two people are identical.
Some of those variations help the bacteria to be resistant to the effects of antibiotics. When antibiotics are applied, only the resistant bacteria survive. However, those bacteria pass their resistance on to most of their offspring, which is how antibiotic resistant strains develop. If this happens long enough over time, the non-resistant strains of a bacteria will become extinct and only the resistant strains will remain to infect people.
This is what we are now observing. The resistant strains are infecting people in increasing numbers revealing a spread these germs throughout the population.
There are no more warnings to give about the overuse of antibiotics. It is already too late. In the years to come, we will see the reemergence of old diseases, once easily controlled by antibiotics. Now, pharmaceutical companies will need to urgently develop new antibiotics to take on the next generation of diseases. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry has little incentive to do so since antibiotics bring much less return on investment than other drugs.
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