Rise of the Superbugs: Bacteria Are Outsmarting Humans. Will They Eventually Kill Us All?
Rise of the Superbugs: Bacteria Are Outsmarting Humans. Will They Eventually Kill Us All? By Dagny Taggart for The Organic Prepper
It is getting hard to keep track of all the recalls and outbreaks associated with foodborne illness lately. In the last month, apples, vegetable products, meat, and fish have all been recalled for possible Listeriacontamination. In the same time frame, a Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to ground beef has been making the rounds, and an E. coli outbreak has been linked with packaged salad products (romaine lettuce is once again the suspect).
Our centralized, industrialized food system is at the heart of the increase in food contamination and recalls. Modern farming and modern food manufacturing methods are breeding grounds for bacteria. (source)
To make matters worse, superbugs are rapidly becoming a serious threat, and we are running out of ways to kill them. Several new studies and reports shed light on just how dire the situation is.
In the future, superbugs will kill millions every year.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that by the year 2050, 10 million people worldwide could die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Currently, the WHO estimates that 700,000 people globally die from infection with drug-resistant microbes every year. At that point, these “superbugs” will have surpassed cancer, heart disease, and diabetes to become the main cause of death in the human race.
Superbugs are bacteria that have developed resistance to one or more classes of antibiotics, rendering those antibiotics less effective in treating infections. They are also known as antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB).
One of the reasons antibiotic resistance is a growing problem is their widespread use in animals raised for food.
According to a recent study published in the journal Science,
There is a clear increase in the number of resistant bacterial strains occurring in chickens and pigs.
Globally, 73% of all antimicrobials sold on Earth are used in animals raised for food. A growing body of evidence has linked this practice with the rise of antimicrobial-resistant infections, not just in animals but also in humans. Beyond potentially serious consequences for public health, the reliance on antimicrobials to meet demand for animal protein is a likely threat to the sustainability of the livestock industry, and thus to the livelihood of farmers around the world. (source).
Certain types of infections pose significant risks.
The CDC recently published a report on Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance, which revealed that more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. In addition, 223,900 cases of Clostridioides difficile occurred in 2017 and at least 12,800 people died.
Clostridioides difficile (C.diff) is of special concern because it causes a dangerous infection that is linked to antibiotic use. It can cause deadly diarrhea when antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria in the digestive system that normally keep it under control. When the C. diff. illnesses and deaths are added, the annualU.S. toll of all these pathogens is more than 3 million infections and 48,000 deaths.
C. diff., drug-resistant gonorrhea, and carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are known as “nightmare bacteria” because they pose a triple threat. They are resistant to all or nearly all antibiotics, they kill up to half of patients who get bloodstream infections from them, and the bacteria can transfer their antibiotic resistance to other related bacteria, potentially making the other bacteria untreatable.
Candida auris, a dangerous fungal infection that preys on people with weakened immune systems, is quietly spreading across the globe, as we reported earlier this year:
The CDC is concerned about C. aruis for three main reasons, according to the agency’s website.
It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management.
It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in a hospitalized patient so that healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread.
As of August 31, 2019, 806 confirmed cases of C. auris have been reported in the US. Beyond the reported clinical case counts, an additional 1642 patients have been found to be colonized with C. auris. While exact figures are not available (many infected people had other serious health issues that contributed to their deaths), an estimated 30-60% of those infected with C. auris die. (source)
One form of Acinetobacter, a group of bacteria commonly found in the environment (like in soil and water) has developed resistance to nearly all antibiotics: