An Indiana grandma killed off a devastating superbug with a homemade fecal transplant and then embarked on a crusade to win over the FDA.
In March 2012, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture uncovered a problem in Elgin, Texas. Beef sausage from a small family-run meat processor appeared to have been contaminated with a nasty bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. The bug can make people sick and, in rare cases, be deadly. The processor had to recall more than a ton of sausage. It’s the kind of story that strikes terror in the hearts of other sausage peddlers, including Mike Satzow, so he uses phages to keep his small company's sausages safe to eat.
"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. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection." This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013, a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health. "If we’re not careful, the medicine chest will be empty when we go there to look for a life-saving antibiotic,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden told reporters. Reports in the Washington Post and New York Times. (Also previously.) [more inside]
Worried about the widespread use of antibiotics used in the raising of steer, pigs and poultry, and fearing the rise of antibiotic-resistant illness, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began the process of withdrawing its approval for the non-medical use of penicillin and tetracyclines (scribd, posted by Wired magazine's Maryn McKenna in conjunction with one of her posts on this issue). That was in 1977. The FDA stopped pursuing the process, and antibiotics have continued to be given in feed. But a recent court order may allow the FDA to oversee a major change to the system. [more inside]
How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense: Report looks at methods of corporate abuse, suggests steps toward reform [Full Report (PDF)] [Executive Summary (PDF)] [more inside]
New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase has been found in India and Pakistan, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the US. "Medical tourism, family travel and international migration have combined to import a potent new form of antibiotic resistance halfway around the planet—and the physician-researchers who have tracked its rapid spread say it is already on the verge of becoming untreatable." You hear that? UNTREATABLE!