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View Diary: The looming antibiotic crisis can't be solved by the free market (248 comments)

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  •  Certainly, they are overused. And vaccination (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eddie L, Bluehawk, JerryNA

    was a much more important factor in decreasing mortality from infectious diseases. But still, infectious diseases were a huge problem before 19th century or so.

    •  Prevention is now even more important (12+ / 0-)

      Good point about vaccination.  Antibiotics are needed if vaccination fails. Vaccination leads to herd immunity, making it hard for infection to spread.  Sadly, an anti-vaccination movement has sprung up, largely started by a fraudster trying to sell his own vaccine by claiming others were toxic.  And nutcases like Jenny McCarthy spread the poisonous meme, getting lots of TV time because, frankly, she has big boobs.  Then the newage types decided that vaccines were bad, so the haut-bourgeois suburbs are hotbeds of preventable disease.

      And of course other preventative measures, like good sanitation in hospitals (not antibacterials at home!), are critical.

      •  Vaccination / Antibiotics in livestock. (19+ / 0-)

        Vaccination is mostly against viral infections, not bacterial infections. There are of course very important exceptions, like meningococcal vaccine that prevents a deadly form of meningitis, and pertussis (whooping cough), which are both caused by bacteria. But the vast majority of vaccine preventable diseases, at least in the U.S., are caused by viruses: measles, mumps, smallpox, chicken pox, HPV, polio, hepatitis (A and B), and of course, influenza.

        One vitally important point made by the diarist, which cannot be emphasized too much, and which gets widely ignored (especially in Congress), is the huge damage being done by wanton use of antibiotics in livestock:

        Industrial farms have been adding antibiotics to livestock feed since 1946, when studies showed that antibiotics caused animals to grow faster and put on weight more efficiently, increasing meat producers' profits. Between 1985 and 2001, the use of antibiotics in feed for industrial livestock production rose a startling 50%. Today, antibiotics are routinely fed to livestock, poultry, and fish on industrial farms to promote faster growth and to compensate for the unsanitary conditions in which they are raised. According to a new report by the FDA, approximately 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to farm animals. This means that in the United States only 20 percent of antibiotics, which were originally developed to protect human health, are actually used to treat infections in people.
        There is no better example of the limits of the free market to solve problems than this. The free market only cares about short-term profit. It is absolutely agnostic about public health and public good. And this is where Ayn Rand disciples like Paul Ryan are intellectually and morally bankrupt.

        Excellent diary -- thank you. Should be on the Rec list.

        The only entitlement that needs reforming is the inbred belief of the 0.1% that they are entitled to 99.9% of the wealth and 100% of the power.

        by flitedocnm on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:15:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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