Thursday, February 28, 2013

Necrotizing Fasciitis

This nasty little bug also known as the flesh eating bacteria or gangrene is the feral beast that was responsible for Aimee Copeland's disaster in my last post.  Just to give you a very brief history on this disease, it was one of the most common causes of death and amputation in wars prior to WWII when antibiotics became available.  Suddenly there was a silver bullet.  And for the next sixty or so years that would remain.

So what happened to Aimee Copeland?  She sought early treatment.  She was treated correctly.  Yet medical professionals were sought to resort to early 20th century techniques to rid her of the disease.  And Why?  The bacteria had evolved into an antibiotic resistant strain and in the most unlikely of places.  Rural Georgia USA in the Little Tallapoosa River.

So the next question is how could a superbug be found in such a place?  Normally they are found in sterile environments like hospitals where antibiotics are in abundance and bacteria can learn to resist them.  But a river in rural Georgia?

Well yes, I do have a theory.  I might add it is just a theory, I have on hard evidence to back it up.  But here goes anyway.  There are a lot of livestock farms in that area.  Many would be using antibiotics to treat their animals on even a prophylactic basis.  These antibiotics would for many reasons run off into water catchments and rivers and interact with bacteria forming superbugs.

The following flow diagram is sourced from the US Government Accountability Office and describes how antibiotic use in animals may effect the health and safety of people.

Now I have to say that I can understand it if a farmer has a sick animal(s) that they would want to treat them with antibiotics.  But why we would treat our livestock with antibiotics prophylactically is beyond me.  You wouldn't treat a healthy person like that so why an animal.  That practice has to stop and controls need to be bought into place to govern what and how these drugs are administered when animals do get sick.

So what can we do about it?  First, only buy organic.  For livestock to be sold in the market it cannot be stamped organic if it has ever been treated with antibiotics.  Second, you  can contact your local politician and communicate your concern if you feel so inclined.  Anyway, I think that that is enough from me on this one.  I don't want to get a reputation as a conspiracy theorist.  Until next time, stay well:)

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