Tuesday, March 06, 2018

When the antibiotic chickens come home to roost

For some years the medical community has been warning that there might well be a time when bugs would show up that no antibiotic would work on. Recent research shows we're another day closer now.

This has implications for how we live our lives. As someone with a legitimate allergy to flu shots (I landed in the hospital the two times I took them, so my chart now has a big flag on it), I recently rescheduled a trip to the doc, pushing it out a couple of months. Why? To avoid the hack-n-snot brigade which is currently infesting every medical office in the area. I haven't gotten any bug this winter and I'm hoping to not get one before warm weather arrives. Others do the same; a couple of weeks ago Mrs. Freeholder refused to go to the doc-in-a-box with what turned out to be a raging sinus infection because she didn't want to be exposed to them either.

Imagine this attitude in a time when we have a bunch of superbugs that laugh at antibiotics. The medical community, however reluctantly, has been forced to acknowledge that a doctor's office or a hospital is not only a place to get care, but also a place to get sick. If there are antibiotic immune bugs out there, will people avoid seeking medical care for fear of contracting one, even if their problem is treatable? The implications for creating a multi-faceted public health crisis seem very real to me.

It would be very bad if one or more became epidemic, or worse, weaponized. I could see Johnny Jihadi now. "Ali, we must gather 500 martyrs. Ahmed has the contracted the . We will allow him to infect them all, then fly them to the cities of our enemies, where they will spread it to as many people as possible before they die."

Talk about a low-tech end of the world. You know, that concept would make a great doomer TV show.

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