Antibiotics crisis: what Public Health England is NOT telling us

Doctor with capsule
Antibiotics might save lives quick – they’re also the slow-burning fuse to world starvation

Antibiotics crisis is an understatement – it’s an all-out world-wide calamity.

“One of the most dangerous global crises facing the modern world today,” says Professor Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England.

But he’s not telling us why.

Antibiotic resistance is the impending threat he refers to – and he’s not wrong.

Ramping up fast is the failure of ALL antibiotics to halt infections caused by bacteria – and with it, the complete collapse of modern medicine.

According to England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, without antibiotics minor infections become deadly – while surgery, chemotherapy and caesareans simply become too dangerous.

Wake up, world!

It’s a little late to be surprised. Since antibiotics were first discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, we’ve known that sooner or later bacteria would develop immunity.

Bacteria are the world’s hardiest survivors  – and imagining that we would be safe from them with antibiotics was always going to be wishful thinking.

Over billions of years, bacteria have learnt to survive freezing, boiling, living without  oxygen or water, in acid or alkaline environments, in light or pitch darkness. What makes us think we can succeed where the elements haven’t?

The track record is not good. So far, we’ve been lucky if an antibiotic succeeds for more than 10 years.  A few examples:

  • Tetracycline introduced 1950, resistance identified 1959.
  • Erythromycin introduced 1953, resistance identified 1968.
  • Methicillin introduced 1960, resistance identified 1962.
  • Gentamycin introduced 1967, resistance identified 1979.
  • Vancomycin introduced 1972, resistance identified 1988.
  • Ceftazidime introduced 1985, resistance identified 1987.
  • Levofloxacin introduced 1996, resistance identified THE SAME YEAR.
  • Ceftaroline introduced 2010, resistance identified 2011.

Devastating stuff.

Which is why medics are jumping up and down about overuse accelerating this resistance – putting the brakes on the public demanding our Twenty-First Century miracle cure. Because as many as 25% of all antibiotic prescriptions are totally unnecessary.

Tip of the iceberg

But that’s not the real problem, or even the beginning of it.

It’s antibiotics’ amazing side effect we’re turning our backs on. And already it makes the whole resistance issue look like a sideshow.

Ever since antibiotics started being used, researchers noted their extraordinary ability to promote growth. Bodies grew quicker, bulked up heavier, super-developing in months instead of years.

They didn’t need a full strength dose either – the kind to clobber an infection. A little and often was enough, a regular under-dose to start the growth spurt and keep it going.

Don’t believe it? Then ask yourself what’s the real reason two thirds of us are overweight or obese – and a third of our kids too? Animals get antibiotics, we eat them, we bulk up same as they do.

Wholesale overuse worldwide

Today 280,000 TONNES of antibiotics are pumped into farming animals around the world. Supposedly restricted to comply with overuse regulations. But actually a necessity to sustain the explosion of world human population.

From 2½ billion in the 1950s when antibiotics began to be used in any volume, to the 7½ billion we are today. Essential to produce the the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion pigs and 1 billion sheep that currently feed us.

And right there is the Catch 22.

Modern factory farm methods are so concentrated and so intense that animals literally live on top of each other. Crowded, living in each other’s filth, conditions are so unhygienic that antibiotics really are essential for survival. On top of the growth boosting function they’re already administered for.

And guess what?

Antibiotics are starting to fail for farm animals too. They HAVE to be used to keep up numbers, but fight a losing battle against increasing antimicrobial resistance.

End of the world coming

Which means it’s going to happen.

One day soon, animals will start to die. Penned into slum-like conditions with no protection, an epidemic that will sweep through them like wildfire.

Containing it will be impossible, because there’ll be no defence. The antibiotics won’t work, so things can only go one way.

Which means wholesale animal deaths worldwide.

And the end of the food supply that sustains the extra 5 billion people that we have become since antibiotics enabled such huge production capability.

Two thirds of the world population.

Because bacteria always win.

Because we’re too stupid to realise that defence against them is a moving target, that they will always evolve to find a way round.

We’re all going to die

And that by the time we wake up to that fact, we’ll be dead.

Antibiotics crisis is right. And that’s what Public Health England aren’t telling us.

It really could be the end of the world.

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 23 October 2017 @ 5:38 pm

Originally posted on 23 October 2017 @ 5:38 pm

Now it’s inevitable: total global antibiotics failure

Worried farm vet
When antibiotics stop working for animals, we’re all at risk

Inevitable as in OMG, failure as in serious.

Imagine World War Three, a Force 5 hurricane and an end-of-the-dinosaurs meteor strike all at the same time.

All caused by the weapons we use against microscopic adversaries we can’t even see – the antibiotics we use to fight pathogenic bacteria.

Busted miracles

Amazing creations, antibiotics. Enabling modern medicine work miracles every day.

Except their edge is blunting fast – as canny bacteria mutate to develop resistance to our wonder-drugs – increasingly immune to everything we throw at them.

Antimicrobial resistance or AMR, it’s called. Bacteria impervious to even heavy doses of medication – just another bump in the road to the most successful single-celled living creature of all time – the latest hiccup in 5 billion years of evolution.

Of course, AMR was always going to happen. Bacteria are ultimate survivors – able thrive at temperatures from a freezing 0⁰C to a volcanic 350⁰C – in acidity from near pure water to concentrated battery acid – and if necessary, even without oxygen.

So that messing about in a laboratory for anything except a short-term solution is futile. Alexander Fleming, father of modern antibiotics even said as much in his 1945 lecture accepting the Nobel Prize.

His concern was that the bugs could gain immunity from under-dosing – killing the weakest but allowing the strongest to escape from non-lethal quantities. And with an organism able to divide by fission into new cells in as little as 20 minutes, it was only a matter of time before bacteria found ways.

Tick, tick, tick

They certainly did. Against penicillin, discovered in 1928 with resistant staph emerging in in 1940; tetracycline, introduced in 1950 with resistant shigella in 1959; erythromycin, launched in 1953 with resistant strep occurring in 1968; methicillin in 1960 with resistance in 1962; levofloxacin in 1996 with resistance in the same year; linezolid in 2000 and resistance 2001; daptomycin in 2003 and resistance in 2004.

Today it’s even worse, with some superbugs becoming pan-resistant – responsive to NO antibiotics at all. Small wonder that Dr Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, sees AMR as a threat on the same scale as terrorism.

Except that Dame Sally is wrong on the focus, medical AMR is just the tip of the iceberg. Agriculturally, AMR is many, many times bigger – so that, short of a massive alien invasion, antibiotics resistance is quite possibly the biggest challenge ever to the human race.

Check the math.

All in the numbers

In 1950, world population was 2,557,628,654 –the biggest killers were pneumonia and TB, and ploughs on the farm were still drawn by horses.

In 2016, world population is 7,334,771,614, most diseases are completely under control and “factory farms” are highly mechanised.

300% increase in mouths to feed, but the land area to produce the necessary food is still the same. Mechanisation? Sure. GM crops? Let’s face it, farmers have been fiddling with plant breeding for yonks. But three times as much food to eat from the same space, how is that possible?

Right first time, antibiotics.

First used as a growth promoter in 1950 – and today fattening up livestock so much that round the world, 65,000 tons of agricultural antibiotics are swallowed by cows, pigs, chickens and sheep every year.

Yeah, well that’s the OTHER thing antibiotics do – they bulk up animal bodies – twice the size in half the time, on half the feed. From fresh-laid egg to a 1.5 kg supermarket chicken in six weeks – from new-born calf to a full-size Aberdeen Angus steer in one year instead of four.

Feeding the billions

Which is how come farmers can produce food enough for 7.3 billion hungry people from the same land once struggling to feed 2.5 billion.

Put in perspective, and looking at USA beef cattle production only, 1950s technology would require an additional 165 million acres to produce the same amount of beef, an area about the size of Texas – 20% of mainland America.

Or as the Yanks like to boast, 25% of the world’s beef from 10% of the world’s cattle.

It’s antibiotics make this possible – that compensate for the intensive battery-style living, the highly stressful over-crowding, the low level of hygiene from animals living on top of each other, the otherwise unavoidable breeding grounds for animal disease and infection.

Antibiotics in feedstuffs bulk animals up – and also keep them healthy in impossible conditions.

But animals are living metabolisms too – and just like us, the bacteria inside them develop resistance to the constant flow of antibiotics going through their bodies. Billions of times more likely than with humans – there are billions more of them.

Pan-resistance everywhere – antibiotics failure on a colossal scale.

Which means the day is coming when animals fall ill from the living environments they’re in – and with antibiotics no longer able to protect them, disease goes through their thousands and thousands like wildfire. Round the world, other food animals pick up the contagion, sicken and die.

Plants too, suffer the same antibiotics resistance, succumbing to the many types of blight and other disease that fruit, vegetable and grain crops are prone to.

Hunger and famine

Without food, 7.5 billion start feeling hungry.

Never mind AMR, it’s FAMINE that’s going to get us. With no way out, except for a lucky few – in a world surrounded by dying animals and vegetation.

Impossible, surely?

You mean inevitable. Antibiotics resistance is a fact. In medical circles, it is already an emergency. And AMR is already widely reported across agriculture. Total failure is already on the cards.

OK, so several billion of us aren’t going to make it.

Those that do will have to live in a world without antibiotics. So will the animals, out in the open where they belong, not cooped up in jail for us humans. And for every living thing there’ll be no more miracle drugs.

Just as 100 years ago, a simple scratch or mouthful of iffy food could be the last of us. So it’s back to Victorian-style carbolic and scrub, meticulous hand-washing hygiene before and after every activity as our first line of protection.

We will certainly need it. After seven decades of constant antibiotics ourselves – in our medicine and from the foods we eat – our immune systems are weaker than they ever were, less robust, less resilient – our internal gut bacteria ravaged by the same antibiotics supposed to be so beneficial.

Get out of jail free

Which means hygiene around us will be critical too. At home, in our workplaces, in all the enclosed spaces where we group together, vulnerable to each other’s germs and the normal germs on everything around us.

Fortunately, a Hypersteriliser can keep our surroundings sterile – making them safe with misted hydrogen peroxide that kills all viruses and bacteria by oxidation. Kinda like external antibiotics, but without the downside.

And yes, we will fight back. We won’t have antibiotics, but we will have phages – go-getter body VIRUSES that attack harmful bacteria – a therapy that has been used in the former Soviet Union for even longer than antibiotics. Not back to the future, but forward to the past.

We SHALL overcome.

Picture Copyright: goodluz / 123RF Stock Photo

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 15 January 2019 @ 5:40 am

Originally posted on 15 January 2019 @ 5:40 am

Drop dead – antibiotics won’t save you any more

Bandaged mummy
Time to hike up hygiene habits – or it could be the end of us

At time of writing, current world population is 7,274,081,952 and counting – already up 2,300 since starting this sentence. Check it out on the amazing Worldometer.

“Over-population” cry a lot of experts – and in certain circumstances, they might be right. Not for the whole planet, but for the bit they’re putting under the microscope.

Too many people for local food production, not enough water resources – whatever.

Human beings by numbers

One hundred years ago, we weren’t even half that number of people – with a whole great horde of us recently killed in World War One (34 million), or in the Spanish flu epidemic that followed (up to 50 million).

Seems every so often, if we get to be too many, a war or disease comes along and chops us back.

Well yes, but only on a local basis.

An island of us

If you really think there’s too many of us, it’s kind of a jolt to think that every single one of us alive today could fit shoulder to shoulder on the island of Zanzibar – 7,274,082,381 of us (and counting) in just 1,023 square miles.

A lot of things make us so prolific – advancing technology, clever agriculture – and most of all revolutions in medicine.

Joseph Lister’s first insistence about washing hands was in the early 1800s. Our population doubled.

Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of pencillin – the first true antibiotic – was a hundred years later. Our population doubled again – and kept right on going.

How far will we get?

That depends on our hygiene levels.

No more miracles

Because the latest nasty is that antiobiotics are not the miracles they once were.

All kinds of bugs have learned how to resist them – and more are developing every day.

One by one, our defences are failing.

Now according to the National Academy of Sciences, neither another World War, nor a global pandemic would be enough to stop our rocketing climb in numbers. We’ll top 10 billion by the end of the century, easy peasy.

Uh huh.

Everything at once

Except how about more than one pandemic at once?  A whole storm of them all at the same time? Like Ebola, the plague, smallpox, SARS, flu, polio and AIDS – all clobbering us together with no treatment against any of them?

Are we about to be wiped out?

Hey! Back to Earth!

It was Lister who pushed our numbers up by telling us to wash out hands, remember?

But be honest, how many of us do that as often as we should?

And how many remember WHY?

To stop the germs getting to us,right? To give those viruses and bacteria no chance to touch us.

Hygiene habits

If we did nothing else – if we washed our hands all the time – we might survive.

But to be certain, we need to hike our hygiene habits a whole lot higher.

It was right back alongside Lister that Louis Jacque Thenard discovered hydrogen peroxide in the Nineteenth Century.

As a germ killer, it was immediately a trailblazer – safe and easy to use, no virus or bacteria could survive contact with it.

Two hundred years later, the technology has moved on.

Force field

Ionised and dispersed into an ultra-fine mist, hydrogen peroxide reaches everywhere, grabbing at pathogens by electrostatic attraction, oxidising their cells to shreds by shoving oxygen atoms at them.

Our antibiotics might not work, but our first line of defence sure as hell does.

Like a force-field round a spaceship, hydrogen peroxide takes out any germ that comes at us. We’ll be OK, though we might not make that magic 10 billion.

Why?

Well, not all of us have access to hydrogen peroxide or the auto-robots that disperse it.  And not all of us will remember to be careful and practice high-level hygiene at all times.

At least we stand a chance though.

So when the Doc looks at you and shakes his head, it might not be the end of the world.

As long as you’re not relying only on antibiotics, you’ll live.