What You Need to Know to Protect Your Family from Superbugs as Antibiotic Resistance Reaches Crisis Level

What You Need to Know to Protect Your Family from Superbugs as Antibiotic Resistance Reaches Crisis Level by Jenny Jayne for The Organic Prepper

Antibiotics have saved lives since 1942 when the first person was saved using the first antibiotic, penicillin. However, since then, overuse and permeation of life-saving drugs into our environment and water sources has caused drug resistance in once easy-to-cure strains of bacteria and fungi.

As preppers, we prepare for disasters, but most don’t know that we are no longer waiting for a particularly serious disaster. The apocalypse has already arrived.

Superbugs are here and they are a serious threat.

The CDC recently published a troubling report about antibiotic resistance called Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States. Here are two excerpts that get right to the point:

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Untreatable or pan-resistant infections are no longer a future threat—they are a reality. Around the world, including in the United States, people are dying from infections for which effective antibiotics are not available. In fact, many experts, including at CDC, believe we are already in a ‘post-antibiotic’ era. (CDC, pg. 34)

Human waste (poop) can carry traces of previously consumed antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant germs. Waste goes to treatment plants and is released as treated wastewater. This can contribute to antibiotic resistance in the environment, including contaminating lakes and streams.” (pg. 26)

We are not preparing for the post-antibiotic era, we are experiencing it right now.

The International Business Times Reports:

“This is not some mystical apocalypse or fear-mongering. It is reality,” Dr. Victoria Fraser from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis told NBC News. “We are faced with trying to take care of patients who have drug-resistant infections that we have no treatment for.” (source)

How did this happen?

What causes drug resistance in fungi and bacterial infections? The CDC released a harrowing diagram in its 2019 report showing the process. It puts the information in almost “cute” picture form on page 18 in the section titled How Antibiotic Resistance Happens: Antibiotic Exposure and the Spread of Germs. This one diagram paints the literal picture of the dissolution of the foundation of modern medicine: antibiotics.

Increases in antibiotic resistance are driven by a combination of germs exposed to antibiotics, and the spread of those germs and their mechanisms of resistance. This naturally occurring process is accelerated when antibiotics are constantly present in the environment or in the germs’ hosts (e.g., patients). (CDC, pg. 18)

What this means is that bacteria and fungi are learning how to survive in this world that is drenched in the poison that was once deadly to them: antibiotics. And the most terrifying thing is that germs are able to share this information with other deadly microorganisms that live in their world of disease. Once they are able to evolve to either resist or expel the drug from their little “bodies,” antibiotic resistance has taken hold.

Fewer people are dying, but the number of deaths is still high.

However, all is not lost. Since 2013, the number of fatalities dues to antibiotic resistance has decreased:

New CDC data show that while the burden of antibiotic-resistance threats in the United States was greater than initially understood, deaths are decreasing since the 2013 report. (source)

But they still acknowledge that 35,000 deaths are still far too many:

Yet the number of people facing antibiotic resistance in the United States is still too high. More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. In addition, nearly 223,900 people in the United States required hospital care for C. difficile and at least 12,800 people died in 2017. (source)

However, some news sources disagree with the CDC report and say the number of deaths is on the rise, reports the International Business Times:

The results of the 2019 report are also higher than in the previous AR threat report published in 2013. It was found at the time that around 2 million people suffered from drug-resistant infections, with nearly 23,000 dying from said infections. (source)

We are running out of treatment options.

In addition to burgeoning drug resistance to bacteria and fungal infections the world over that has the CDC on high alert, drug companies have all but halted their pursuit of “new” antibiotics citing financial issues and lack of willingness to invest in the lengthy and not-always-successful process.

The CDC’s report laid out in no uncertain terms that we cannot rely on the invention of new drugs. Their report from 2019 states that “Since 1990, 78% of major drug companies have scaled back or cut antibiotic research due to development challenges.” (pg. 34) This is despite the fact that every day there are more strains that are resistant to common antibiotic treatments of common diseases. Among the common diseases that are becoming more and more difficult to treat at gonorrhea, strep throat, and the common yeast infection. (pg. 103)

Here is a list of the most urgent threats we are facing.

The CDC has ranked three groups of antibiotic risks, labeling different bacteria and fungus strains in their AR Threats Report. Below is a list of the “Urgent” threats as listed by the CDC:

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