What we lose if we lose antibiotics

This is about more than just the ability to treat an infection, important as that is, writes Maryn McKenna. If antibiotics no longer work, we also lose organ transplantation, cancer treatments, kidney dialysis, safe childbirth, many types of surgery, and cheap meat.

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  1. Sure, we'll lose all of those wonderful things, but cheap beef from feed lots where miserable unhealthy cows gorge themselves on unnatural amounts of corn is a GOD GIVEN RIGHT!

  2. Universal surveillance, climate change, supergerms, plutocratic takeover... I'm really going to have to step up my immediate-gratification hedonism game, while there is still time.

  3. CORN?? What are you, some kind of hippie? I demand beef that is 100% beef-fed for that double-beefy flavor. Maybe throw in a little feces for good measure.

  4. If antibiotics no longer work, we also lose organ transplantation, cancer treatments, kidney dialysis, safe childbirth, many types of surgery, and cheap meat.

    The cheap meat part seems a bit contradictory...the reason we're losing antibiotics, in part, is because they are used to produce cheap meat.

    So we either keep feeding antibiotics to livestock, in which case we increase the rate at which we lose antibiotics, and then lose cheap meat...

    Or, we stop feeding the antibiotics to livestock, in which case we lose cheap meat.

    So either way, cheap meat is doomed in the long run. There's no magical fairy world where we keep feeding vast amounts of antibiotics to livestock and that doesn't help fuel antibiotic resistance, is there?

  5. "How is it going to end our ability to use antibiotics."

    Because their widespread, indiscriminate use of antibiotics to prevent infections in feed lots leads to the bacteria rapidly developing resistance to them.

    The same thing happens, to a lesser extent, when humans use antibiotics irresponsibly. e.g., buying them over the counter in Mexico and using them every time the kid has the sniffles (due to a virus, which antibiotics won't touch), or badgering a doctor for a prescription because the nipper has an ear infection (which will go away in due course).

    Or starting a properly prescribed regimen of antibiotics then stopping them because you start to feel better, or sharing the pills with the boyfriend who gave you the clap because he is ashamed to go to the clinic himself.

    Here is more:

    Is Wikipedia too "junk science" for you? How about John Hopkins?

    https://cogito.cty.jhu.edu/40655/up-for-debate-can-we-prevent-global-antibiotic-resistance/

    Here is an animated explanation of how bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics, from the FDA:

    http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/AntimicrobialResistance/ucm134359.htm

    So, yeah, this is a real problem, and it is very, very serious one.

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