Antibiotic Resistance Is Expected to Kill 300 Million People by 2050

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A report commissioned by David Cameron, former UK Prime Minister, estimates that up to 300 million people will have died due to antibiotic resistance by 2050. The annual global death toll is expected to reach 10 million. [1]

“If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine” – David Cameron. [1]
The adverse effects of drug resistance will be felt all over the world, affecting large emerging nations and developing countries the most. Minor infections and routine surgeries will become life-threatening, reversing the many breakthroughs achieved against infectious diseases over the last fifty years. Hospital stays and expenses will increase dramatically. [1]

Antibiotic Overuse: The Main Culprit

The USA is known for its objectionable stance of permitting routine use of antibiotics in livestock feed. Agriculture accounts for up to 80% of the country’s use of antibiotics. Continuous use of low-dose antibiotics allows bacteria to become increasingly resistant to the drugs. The FDA had already acknowledged the dangers of this practice as early as 1977 – however the Federal Government and animal drug manufacturers have chosen to continue on their chosen path, leading us into a dangerous and highly compromised scenario. Antibiotic-resistant diseases are poised to be the single most deadly threat to human health. [2]

The Solution?

One of the key ways antibiotic-resistance can be avoided is by choosing organic, pastured animal products. [2] Some establishments are already taking the necessary precautions. Six of the largest US school districts have decided to use only antibiotic-free chicken in their cafeterias, putting pressure on meat companies to change their production practices. Chick-fil-A has also pledged to switch to antibiotic-free chicken. [3] Recently, the fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. started serving burger made from grass-fed, free-range beef, assuring meat free from hormones, steroids and antibiotics. [4]

The Call to End Industrialized Farming

The belief is widespread that heavy chemical use, genetic engineering, CAFOs and industrial farming are necessary to feed an ever-growing population. This has been debunked by several studies and reports; though the manufacturers of course oppose these to the bitter end. The UN’s Trade and Environment Review has asserted that switching to more localized, ecological, and bio-diverse farming practices can address several pressing issues, including climate change, gender inequality, poverty, and food security. They find solution in a localized food system, as it fosters consumption of regional produce. Moreover, smaller and diversified farms employ a greater number of people and produce more food on less land. Subscribing to ecological principles, they also consume less water and use minimal amounts of chemicals. [5]

References:

[1] Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally. https://amr-review.org/

[2] Mercola. Antibiotic Resistance Will Kill 300 Million People by 2050. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/02/17/antibiotic-resistance-food-production.aspx

[3] Reuters. Big U.S. school districts plan switch to antibiotic-free chicken. http://in.reuters.com/article/antibiotics-chicken-education-idINL1N0TT1P620141210

[4] USA Today. Carl’s Jr. to roll out ‘natural’ burger. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/12/09/carls-jr-hardees-fast-food-restaurants-all-natural-burger/20139287/

[5] TruthOut. United Nations Calls for an End to Industrialized Farming. http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/27636-united-nations-calls-for-an-end-to-industrialized-farming

 

 


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