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Bidding Antibiotics Adieu

On The Pump Handle, Liz Borkowski reports another crack in one of the pillars of modern life—antibiotics. New research in China shows that a family of bacteria called Enterobacteriaceae (which includes E. coli and Salmonella) have acquired a gene that provides resistance to a last-resort antibiotic known as Colistin. These species of bacteria do not have to evolve resistance individually—in fact, they can trade antibiotic-resistant genes with one another using “transmissible pieces of DNA–plasmids, transposons, phage.” As Tara Smith writes, “Since the development of penicillin, we have been in an ongoing ‘war’ with the bacteria that make us ill.” And thanks to the overuse of antibiotics in medicine and animal husbandry, we are losing out quickly. Like 20th century climate, 20th century medicine is something we have learned to take for granted and can’t really imagine living without.
One thing Greg Laden notes in his post about aging (and Ron Howard): “antibiotics alone probably allow a much larger proportion of the human population to survive long enough to experience age-related disease.”


  1. #1 G
    January 15, 2016

    Now now, let’s not go criticizing antibiotic abuse for causing people to die before old age sets in.

    The world is already overpopulated by a factor of two (true), and it’s not practical to demand female equality or free availability of birth control. Those things just lead to immoral conduct anyway, whereas premature deaths strengthen moral resolve and bring surviving family members closer together.

    All the complaints about the pork industry are just the works of Teh Jewish Conspiracy, seeking to impose Sharia Law on innocent white people by taking away our God-given right to keep and bear cheap pork chops. Wake up, sheeple!
    (if you don’t get that the above is snark, check the batteries in your snark detector;-)

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