File this one under Law of Unintended Consequences. Everything you do will have some environmental effect you cannot forsee. Decades of antibiotic use and we now have some killer bacteria that are anti-antibiotic. That terrorizes me pretty well. They say the bacteria especialy like us old folks and little kids. And today a study of one such little organism was released. Known affectionately as MRSA, it's a form of the common, omnipresent staph bacterium that's evolved immunity to nearly all antibiotics known to man.
The first study of its kind, it comes from the U.S. Center for Disease Control. Now the super-staph, scientifically known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (hence MRSA) has a rate of infection in the U.S. of 32 per 100,000 population. It is more than double that among American blacks. And it's not just making people sick. The study estimate over 18,000 American deaths from MRSA in 2005, fifty percent more than from AIDS. And it's a disease that moves easily about our environment. Here's what happened just this week, reported in the "Washington Post", One teenager died from MRSA: "A Lynch Station, Va., teenager, Ashton Bonds, 17, succumbed to MRSA, prompting officials to shut down 21 Bedford County schools tomorrow for cleaning to prevent further infections. The infection had spread to Bonds' kidneys, liver, lungs and the muscle around his heart."
If the drugs have stopped working, it may be time for a different tech approach. Isn't there some way to zap these bacteria? Or to completely sterilize surfaces, air, etc. Would you confidently send your kid back into the schools in Lynch Station after a thorough cleansing with 409 and Lysol? Sounds like those old 1950s training films where they suggested you take a good shower after each atomic attack. Meanwhile, the medics are going to continue to seek an anti-staph vaccine. Of course, your chance for catching MRSA is much higher in a hospital because that's were its victims tend to be collected together and there's evidently no sure way to get rid of the lurking MRSA bacteria. Is that a business opportunity or what?