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Antibiotic Resistance

In a disturbing sign of the growing danger of drug-resistant microbes, a new federal survey of people with pneumococcal infections found that 25% had strains resistant to penicillin, which was once nearly infallible in killing the bugs. That figure is a thousand times greater than estimates made only a decade ago, indicating that antibiotic-resistant pneumococcus germs have spread quickly and are now more common than researchers believed.
December 6, 1990 | KAREN KLINGER, United Press International SCIENCE WRITER
In a recent study, researchers in Seattle found antibiotics highly effective in preventing persistent urinary tract infections in all but two young women they studied. Laboratory tests uncovered the apparent reason for the two exceptions. Both women harbored infection-causing bacteria in their systems that were resistant to antibiotics, making the drugs unable to kill the bacteria.
August 5, 1997 | From Associated Press
Researchers have found a way to turn off the genes that make bacteria resistant to antibiotic drugs, a discovery that could help head off a major medical crisis in the treatment of infections. Bacteria have been growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Many infections no longer respond well to drugs that once worked against them.
May 11, 1998
There is a certain satisfaction in puncturing the arrogance of experts like W.H. Stewart, the American surgeon-general who declared in 1969 that we "can close the book on infectious diseases." But restoring some respect for the bugs that bite man is more than trendy revisionism. It's key to solving the problem of drug-resistant bacteria.
December 14, 2010 | Melissa Healy. Los Angeles Times
The U.S.-raised animals we eat consumed about 29 million pounds of antibiotics in the last year alone, according to a first-ever Food and Drug Administration accounting of antimicrobial drug use by the American livestock industry. The release of the figures -- in a little-noticed posting on the FDA's website Friday -- came in response to a 2008 law requiring the federal government to collect and disseminate antibiotic use in livestock as part of the Animal Drug User Fee Act . The Union of Concerned Scientists, which authored a 2001 report that was highly critical of the routine practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock, estimated the yearly animal consumption of antibiotics to be eight times as large as the volume of antibiotics produced for human consumption in the U.S. Mardi Mellon, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Food and Environment program, said the new report corroborates the 2001 findings of the group's report, titled "Hogging It.
April 16, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
The new study about drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus found in meat and poultry samples certainly sounds alarming -- such bacteria can cause serious infections in humans and can even lead to death. But consumers face a relatively small direct threat from the bacteria in food, and a few simple precautions should provide short-term peace of mind. Long-term peace of mind may take longer. It does seem possible that the meat industry is contributing to antibiotic resistance in some way. The FDA was concerned enough last year to urge that the meat industry use antibiotics only when necessary.
April 11, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
No place on Earth demonstrates the resilience or inventiveness of life quite like Lechuguilla Cave, whose subterranean tunnels stretch for 130 miles through Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Deep in the cave's most arid recesses, deprived of all sunlight and mostly starved of life-giving water, a lush garden of bacteria grows. Untouched by humans for all of their 4 million years, these strains of bacteria thrive on the harsh minerals of the geological formations to which they cling and fend off other life forms that would prey on them.
Anthrax anxiety has spawned a massive public health experiment--one that is unplanned, uncontrolled and perhaps unstoppable. Never before have so many healthy people been given private stashes of antibiotics to use at their whim. The trouble, say medical experts, is that indiscriminate prescription of Cipro and other powerful antibiotics could prove horribly counterproductive.
September 5, 1997 | PATRICIA LIEBERMAN and MICHAEL F. JACOBSON, Patricia Lieberman is senior science policy fellow at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington; Michael F. Jacobson is executive director of the center
A report last month that a Michigan man was infected by staphylococcus bacteria resistant to the most powerful antibiotic approved for use, vancomycin, triggered only fleeting news coverage. That case and a similar one in New Jersey reported Thursday should send shudders though the medical community and the public. If those bacteria spread--as have many other pathogens resistant to antibiotics--the most deadly type of hospital-acquired infection will become untreatable.
November 4, 2001 | SHERWOOD L. GORBACH, Sherwood L. Gorbach is a professor of community health and medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine
As each day brings more news of anthrax contamination, health officials have sought to reassure an anxious public by emphasizing that antibiotics such as Cipro have proved effective against this infection. It's not surprising, given the fear level, that many Americans are stockpiling antibiotics. But while antibiotics may indeed seem like our saviors in the shadow of anthrax, widespread usage itself carries dangers that extend far beyond the current crisis.
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