cmaukonen's picture

    Global civics - whether we like it or not.

    Have you ever seen a victim of Rigelian fever?
    They die in one day. The effects are like bubonic plague.
    Constantinople, summer 1334.
    It marched through the streets, the sewers.
    It left the city by ox cart, by sea, to kill half of Europe:
    the rats, rustling and squealing in the night as they, too, died.
    - The rats........... -
    Requiem For Methuselah

    Since hurricane Sandy the talk has been of Global Warming. We are also deep in the economy and various wars. War of Terror and War on Drugs etc. The elites care not about those things. They believe they can avoid them their effects. I suppose they can - for the present. With big gated and armed castles.

    Some even have plans for floating fortresses.

    There is something now though that they cannot escape. Not even on their floating mansions. Bacteria. Bacteria that is becoming more and more immune to all of our wonderful, expensive anti-biotics. Bacteria like Staff and Strep and MRSA and Clostridium difficile - which killed my 91 year old mother in a couple of days. Bacteria that is becoming immune to all of our drugs. Even as I write this.

    Two closely-related strains of Clostridium difficile became antibiotic resistant and were able to rapidly spread to hospitals around the world, a study says.


    Researchers were able to show how the bacterium travelled by forensically analysing its genetic code.

    The strains of the hospital infection seemed to become more severe after they became resistant.

    The findings were published in the journal Nature Genetics. - BBC Health

    Bacteria that can spread like wild fire. Even faster than the plague that hit Europe. Bacteria that we bread in our over use of anti-biotics.

    The study found that both strains of bacteria had undergone the same tiny mutation in a key gene that conferred resistance to the antibiotic fluoroquinolone.


    Once resistance had evolved, the two strains quickly spread among hospital patients in North America and then Europe.

    Trevor Lawley, the leader of the study at the Sanger Institute, said: “Until this research we didn’t realise that the same mutation had actually happened twice independently of one another. It shows that this is not a rare event and can happen again.

    “There is a link between acquiring resistance and appearance of these mutations around the world, and the use of the antibiotics.”

    The study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, said the evolution and persistence of fluoroquinolone-resistant strains of C. diff was likely to be the result of widespread use of this class of antibiotics in North America in the late 1990s and early 2000s. - The Independent

    Anti-biotics that we constantly keep pumping to our beef and poultry and hogs. That is now showing up in our water supplies. That we put into our dish soap and hand soap. Anti-biotics that we still over prescribe for even the sniffles. At the same time making them less and less able to be used when they are truly needed.

    The bacteria, known as Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, are named for their ability to fight off carbapenem antibiotics -- the last line of defense in the medical toolbox. And so far, they've emerged almost exclusively in health care facilities, picking off the weakest of patients.


    The bacteria made headlines this summer after a CRE strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae battered the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center outside Washington, D.C. Seven died, including a 16-year-old boy. (Hospitals don't reveal victims' names in keeping with medical privacy rules.) But that case was neither the first nor the worst of the CRE attacks. - USA Today

    What happens when these bacteria jump out of the hospitals and into the general public ? When some health care worker or patient is carrying it and contaminates some public facility in say - India or Japan. And it travels to our shores. Or the same scenario in Idaho or Pa. And it most surely will. We now have evidence that these new bugs can travel the world.


    This is to my mind the best example of how we can no longer base our health policies in this country on whether or not some jack ass gets rich. We can no longer base any of our policies here on this. For they will com back and bite us in the ass.

    David Seaton posted a blog on Global Civics and if this not not the best reason we need to practice it, I don't know what is. The elites may fear it but they had better start fearing this instead. Bacteria do not care one bloody bit who you are. They can kill the rich just as quickly as the poor and you cannot buy a cure that no longer exists.

    For we are now creating our own Requiem. Our own Synthococcus novae


    Trader Joe's announced yet another recall last week...this time it's a frozen Trader Joe's brand Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice entree, 4,865 pounds of which are being recalled because they may be contaminated with Listeria, a bacteria food safety experts describe as "scary."

    Unfortunately, one of the problems with Listeria, Klein says, is that it can survive indefinitely on metal and plastic surfaces. If the bacteria is on the outside of a package of contaminated food, and you had that food in your freezer, throwing it away or returning it won't help.

    Anyone selling lots of packaged food is at risk, Reef said, because "the more human hands that are on a food and the more machinery that have come in contact with a food, the more likely it is to be recalled. We see more manufactured product recalls than we do in the fruit and vegetable arena." Still, she pointed out that 18 people died from eating cantaloupe in 2011.

    While the profit motive in the health care system can lead to protocols and systems that facilitate the worsening of this crisis, it is by no means the only reason.  And a nationalized health care system can only be as good as the nation's willingness and ability to fund and implement a quality health care system.  The same goes for a food inspection system, which is currently under the auspices of the government. 


    It's the...... ahumm....culture of the health care system that also needs to change.

    As I have said numerous times.

    As I know you know, the culture of the health care system is a reflection of the larger culture in which it exists.  One of the reasons we're in this mess is that too many people demanded antibiotics when there was not a clear need, and doctors who enabled them, thus facilitating the increase in strains that resistant. 

    Whether we change our current health care system (and it is probably another decade away at best before some real fundamental shifts occur in this system toward a less profit driven one), we can still focus the government forces of regulations and inspections, along with education of the public.  While it is more likely one will encounter these strains in a health care setting, it is not the only place.  And even if the health care system is void of such, they will still be lurking in the general public.

    But all this regulation and inspection and education is going to take money.  Lots more of it.  At a time when everything is being put on chopping block, it would seem a challenge enough to get the public behind increasing the expenditures on battling this crisis.  I don't have much hope that we will be able to do something until something really big breaks out, but who knows.  Collective epiphanies can happen.

    And those epidemics are right around the corner. Another h/t to David.

    The new superbugs are multiplying so successfully because of a gene dubbed NDM-1. That’s short for New Delhi metallo-beta- lactamase-1, a reference to the city where a Swedish man was hospitalized in 2007 with an infection that resisted standard antibiotic treatments.

    The superbugs are proving to be not only wily but also highly sexed. The NDM-1 gene is carried on mobile loops of DNA called plasmids that transfer easily among and across many types of bacteria through a form of microbial mating. This means that unlike previous germ-altering genes, NDM-1 can infiltrate dozens of bacterial species. Intestine-dwelling E. coli, the most common bacterium that people encounter, soil-inhabiting microbes and water-loving cholera bugs can all be fortified by the gene.

    NDM-1 is changing common bugs that drugs once easily defeated into untreatable killers, says Timothy Walsh, a professor of medical microbiology at Cardiff University in Wales. Or as in Skaret’s case, the gene is creating silent stowaways poised to attack if they find a weakness -- or that can pass harmlessly when the body’s conventional microbes win out.

    Cancer patients whose chemotherapy inadvertently ulcerates their gastrointestinal tract are especially vulnerable, says Lindsay Grayson, director of infectious diseases and microbiology at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital.

    “These bugs go straight into their bloodstream,” Grayson says. Newborns, transplant recipients and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk, he says.

    Six infants died in a small hospital in Bijnor in northern India from April 2009 to August 2010 after NDM-1-containing bacteria resisted all commonly used antibiotics.

    The gene may even spread to the microbial cause of bubonic plague, the medieval scourge known as Black Death that still persists in pockets of the globe.

    “It’s a matter of time and chance,” says Mark Toleman, a molecular geneticist at Cardiff University. Plasmids carrying the NDM-1 gene can easily be inserted into the genetic material of Yersinia pestis, the cause of plague, making the infection harder to treat, Toleman says.

    “There is a tsunami that’s going to happen in the next year or two when antibiotic resistance explodes,” says Ghafur, 40, seated at a polished wooden table in a consulting room in Chennai as patients fill 20 metal chairs in the waiting area, forcing others into the corridor. “We need wartime measures to deal with this now.”

    Two travelers from the Netherlands picked up an NDM-1 bug in their bowels after visiting India in 2009 although they hadn’t received medical care there, says Maurine Leverstein-van Hall, a clinical microbiologist at the University Medical Center in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

    “That’s what’s scary,” she says. “It’s not just surgery or being near a hospital. In some way, you get it through the food chain or through the water.”

    It's just a matter of when.

    Oh I am just stating the obvious Chris but I am good at the obvious.

    If there is no 'universal' health care in this country; then those who have no access to health care in this country will go 'unattended'.

    And if those 'unattended' contract some strange 'infection'....



    I think we're all fucked anyway.

    This sort of topic gets me so discouraged, because we've been talking about it for at least 35 years and done nothing, absolutely nothing. 35 years ago I saw a PBS program about antibiotic resistant germs in hospitals. About 30 years ago the son of a friend of mine went into the local hospital for surgery on his arm and got an antibiotic resistant infection that took months to get under control.

    One line that stuck in my memory from that program was a doctor saying, - A hundred years from now doctors will look back at this time as when we wasted one of our greatest natural resources, antibiotics. Doctors then will treat infections the way doctors in the 1800's did. Lance the boil, drain the pus, and hope it gets better.

    We have known this was a problem and we have known what we need to do for 35 years. Get antibiotics out of animal feed, highly regulate their use for both animals and humans. And we've done nothing nor do I think we'll do anything in the next dozen or so years, at least. Its so discouraging.

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