Microbe resistance has become a huge problem for medical professionals. Antibiotics, once hailed as miracles, are now losing their effectiveness. Viruses and bacteria are evolving to withstand them, and they are becoming stronger and more potent than before. MRSA bugs have swept through hospitals and killed patients, and it isn’t just antibiotic overuse that has caused the problem. Anti-bacterial wipes and soaps have had the same effect.
Even antifungals are implicated. Since widespread use of antifungal medication for thrush, candida is becoming increasingly resistant to treatment, and there has been a change in flora from C. albicans to non-albican species.
Scientists have focused on vaccines, hoping to immunize people against viruses and bacteria because their antibiotics and anti-virals aren’t working like they used to. Unfortunately, the problem has also occurred with vaccines as the diseases have mutated.
For instance, a report published by Emerging Infectious Diseases found that pertussis has mutated and now produces more toxins, which has not only led to a resurgence of whooping cough, but has also made it more virulent and dangerous.
“We present evidence that in the Netherlands the dramatic increase in pertussis is temporally associated with the emergence of Bordetella pertussis strains carrying a novel allele for the pertussis toxin promoter, which confers increased pertussis toxin (ptx) production. Epidemiologic data suggest that these strains are more virulent in humans.”
The problem even extends to our farming methods. Pigs and other farm animals are routinely given antibiotics to prevent disease due to the intensive way they are farmed. They are also given the antibiotics to help them gain weight. After scientists took cockroaches and houseflies from pig farms, they found that they had many drug resistant bacteria on them.
“The big concern is not that humans will acquire drug-resistant bacteria from their properly cooked bacon or sausage, but rather that the bacteria will be transferred to humans from the common pests that live with pigs and then move in with us,” Dr. Cody Schal said.
So what can be done about it?