Sour Grapes
Of course we're Fair and Balanced!

2004-10-15

The next [really] big bad thing



For a couple of decades now, I've believed and said that the growing problem of resistant bacteria has been and continues to be under-reported in the media. It's the most likely candidate I know for near-term (1-2 generations) population control, sort of like the plague was for Europe in the Middle Ages. The older I get without seeing such a catastrophe, the more likely I think I die of "normal" causes. But I think that the passage of time makes it more likely to be a problem my children and grandchildren will have to face.



Occasionally, the media do report something and it's always enough to remind me of these fears I have. The Owensboro, KY Messenger-Inquirer had such a story a couple of weeks ago.




Flesh-eating bacteria cases, fatal pneumonia and life-threatening heart infections suddenly are popping up around the country, striking healthy people and stunning their doctors.



The cause? Staph, a bacteria better known for causing skin boils easily treated with standard antibiotic pills.



No more, say infectious disease experts, who increasingly are seeing these "super bugs" — strains of Staphylococcus aureus unfazed by the entire penicillin family and other first-line drugs.



Until a few years ago, these drug-resistant infections were unheard of except in hospital patients, prison inmates and the chronically ill. Now, resistant strains are infecting healthy children, athletes and others with no connection to a hospital.




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