The terrifying discovery that could plunge healthcare back to the dark ages 28



View Profile

Western medicine has come so far since the discovery of penicillin, but now experts are saying we could soon be plunged back into the dark ages.

Scientists are calling it the “antibiotic apocalypse” – the point where deadly bacteria become resistant to all known treatments and everyone’s lives, but especially the elderly, the young and the chronically sick, are at risk.

The BBC reports that the world could be on the brink of the “post-antibiotic era” after finding bacteria resistant to the drugs. The bacteria, found in patients and livestock in China, was resistant even to the “drug of last resort”, called colistin.

It’s believed the resistance has developed due to overuse of colistin in farm animals, and that would soon spread around the world.

Prof Timothy Walsh from the University of Cardiff, told BBC News: “All the key players are now in place to make the post-antibiotic world a reality.

“If [the mutation] MCR-1 becomes global, which is a case of when not if, and the gene aligns itself with other antibiotic resistance genes, which is inevitable, then we will have very likely reached the start of the post-antibiotic era.

“At that point if a patient is seriously ill, say with E. coli, then there is virtually nothing you can do.”

What this means is that common infections would once again be killers, surgery would become very dangerous, and cancer therapies that rely on antibiotics would under threat.

The study of Chinese patients and animals, which was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, found a fifth of the animals showed resistance as did 15 per cent of raw meat samples.

It’s believed that China’s government is moving swiftly to ban colistin in an attempt to slow the damage, but is it too little too late? Some models suggest that by 2050 Australia and the Pacific region could see as many as 55,000 deaths from drug-resistant infections.

Are you alarmed by the overuse of antibiotics? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. A world without antibiotics that work is a world where death will occur for any minor infection . There needs to be more money directed into research to find new antibiotics

    3 REPLY
    • Unfortunately superbugs seem to develop immunity very quickly. We must let our children develop a healthy immune system and hope that there is never an epidemic of an antibiotic resistant disease.

    • Agreed Nita Crompton. At least our children’s children. Lets hope it’s not too late for our children

  2. The overuse of antibiotics and antiseptics is rife worldwide and has caused this problem. Back to soap and water before it’s too late.

  3. I have always steered clear of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. However, I have just completed 4 months of antibiotic treatment, which fortunately worked, but, boy, I hated taking every one of them!

  4. I loathe taking A/Bs unless absolutely necessary….but the perish the thought if they were no longer effective

  5. We have been warned now for several years about The likely hood of this happening. We have had MRSA infections now for years,that are resistant to antibiotics. Doctors have been guilty of ordering antibiotics, indiscriminately in the past. As have patients insisting that their doctor order them also. They will only work on bacterial infections, not viral infections.

    1 REPLY
  6. We have a history of overusing and misusing antibiotics. It was inevitable that this would happen. Even now people are encouraged to buy antibacterial products that “kill 99% of all known germs”. The remaining 1%, the resistant ones are free to multiply and guess what your product is useless against them. We need to go back to the soap and water days, observe cleanliness and let our kids develop natural immunity. I find the thought of these superbugs very frightening. They develop resistance to new antibiotics very quickly reducing treatment options.

    2 REPLY
    • You are absolutely right there, they have been warning us about this for years, but they still keep medicating anything that moves.

    • I think much of the misuse now is in factory farming though I believe that the use of antibiotics is being controlled!!! I think most doctors now prescribe antibiotics much less indiscriminately.

  7. Poor animals in factory farms stuffed full of antibiotics are the main cause of this. Every bite you take of a factory farmed animal is filled with antibiotics! I’ve never had a doctor suggest antibiotics for anything other than infection!

    1 REPLY
  8. Am I alarmed by the overuse of antibiotics? No, it has been the unneeded quick fix for decades.

    And yes we have been told for that length of time “it will eventually bite us on the ass” B|

    2 REPLY
    • Bruce we did have warning which was largely ignored until the appearance of MRSA. There are now many new strains of “superbug”. I am alarmed by them.

    • my kids are in their thirties now and I restricted their use of them in conjunction with my family GP he was concerned then.

  9. Another reason not to eat meat?

    1 REPLY
    • I think you will find that this is not the case with Australian grass fed beef. We are cattle farmers and have never given antibiotics to our animals. They are raised only on lush green paddocks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *