18 Sept (GREEN MED) – The CDC announced this week that millions in the US contract ‘super germs’ and 23,000 die each year, but isn’t their outdated antibiotic-and germ-focused disease model entirely to blame for this growing nightmare?
A new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns about antibiotic overuse and the resultant rise of ‘super-bugs,’ establishing for the first time different ‘threat levels’ for each type of drug resistant bacteria. Titled, Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013, the report states:
“Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.”
The report acknowledged that,
“[M]ost deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes,” and the estimates are based on “conservative assumptions and are likely minimum estimates.”
The report also offers a new pathogen grading system reminiscent of homeland security’s grading of terrorism threats, but instead of red, orange or yellow, the CDC is using “urgent,” “serious” and “concerning.”
These are the CDC’s list of most highly concerning bacteria, prioritized according to ‘threat level':
- Clostridium difficile
- Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
- Drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae
- Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacte
- Drug-resistant Campylobacte
- Fluconazole-resistant Candida (a fungus
- Extended spectrum β-lactamase producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBLs)
- Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
- Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginos
- Drug-resistant Non-typhoidal Salmonella
- Drug-resistant Salmonella Typhi
- Drug-resistant Shigella
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Drug-resistant tuberculosis
- Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA)
- Erythromycin-resistant Group A Streptococcus
- Clindamycin-resistant Group B Streptococcus
The CDC’s director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, who recently caused worldwide alarm by describing Carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae CRE as ‘nightmare bacteria,’ said if the current trends continue,
“the medicine cabinet may be empty for patients who need them in the coming months and years.”
But isn’t our reliance on the ‘medicine cabinet’ and not the kitchen cupboard or spice rack at the heart of the problem? The medicine cabinet has been filled with conventional antibiotics far too long. These mostly monochemical compounds are far too simplistic vis-à-vis the relatively complex array of antimicrobial compounds found within natural anti-infective spices and plant extracts and which have been used since time immemorial. Bacteria, which have evolved complex mechanisms to survive chemical poisoning, easily gain the upper hand. Not only do these agents indiscriminately kill the beneficial flora that enable us to produce infection-fighting compounds (e.g. bacteriocins, betaglucans, etc.), but they actually make the ‘bad’ bacteria stronger and more resistant to treatment.
How do antibiotics drive this drug resistance? Even when a conventional antibiotic is successful at destroying 99.9% of a harmful bacterial colony, generating the immediate appearance of success, the treatment will often leave the surviving minority subpopulation (in this case, the .1%) of bacteria to produce genetically-mediated resistance factors, as well as biofilm, enabling it to survive and eventually grow back to harmful proportions. When the .1% grows back to levels where it is capable of causing symptoms and signs of infection, the original antibiotic is completely ineffective; to the contrary, it will actually kill off all competing beneficial bacteria, making the antibiotic-resistant bacteria thrive. This then requires the use of even more toxic chemical treatments to attempt to kill the new drug resistant colony, repeating the same cycle over again. At the end of this road is multi-drug resistant infection, whose pathogenicity is a direct result of the use of these conventional agents, and which therefore can not be controlled by them.
For complete article go to Green Med.