Tag Archives: Prime Minister

PM’s pandemic hit squad forgets prevention need

Skeptical woman
Pretty impressive – but a bit like bolting the stable door after the horse has scarpered

Nice one, Dave.

Yes, the next pandemic is going to be worse than Ebola, and probably some kind of flu-based virus.

MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is a good candidate – already running amok in South Korea after an opening zoonotic hop from camels in Saudi Arabia.

The plague is coming

But we can’t wash our hands of the fact that these hit squads medics won’t stop pandemic pandemonium – fantastic and state-of-the-art though they might be.

The clue is “wash hands” – and we’re none of us very good at it.Wash Hands Logo

But that’s exactly how any new virus is most likely to accelerate into a pandemic. Through sloppy hygiene and poor standards of personal cleanliness.

Direct contact is how Ebola did it – touching victims out of care and love – or contamination from their bodily fluids.

And yes, you’re right Prime Minister – if the next super-bogey is flu-based, it’s likely to be airborne. “Coughs and sneezes spread diseases” territory – spiralling out of the air around us, just waiting to be breathed in.

Sloppy hygiene

And yes, it’s going to be seriously bad – until we get our hand-washing act together. Plus defend our environment against airborne invaders.

Fact: 95% of us don’t wash our hands properly. Five seconds shaking them under the tap won’t stop any self-respecting coronavirus.

A lot of us are also super-yuckists – because Fact: 62% of men and 40% of women don’t wash their hands at all after going to the loo. (Tweet this)

Five minutes later, they might be eating. Or scribbling notes while they’re on the phone. The germs from their bum are on their food – or on the pen they’re chewing while they think. Usually they wind up with norovirus, the usual Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

But pandemic pandemonium is more serious, right?

Self-infecting

Which is why we’ll need the hit squads, Mr PM sir – these super-yuckists are sending a message direct to germ headquarters – INFECT ME NOW. When your super-virus actually hits, we’ll be going down like flies all over.

Because – Fact again – most of us touch our faces 3,000 times a day – most germs’ favourite way into the body, through the soft tissue openings of the eyes, nose and mouth.

Our own stupid carelessness, not so? Actually sitting up and asking for illness because we’re too lazy or forgetful to take the right precautions.

Because you watch, when the panic starts stampeding us, how many will there be running round with surgical facemasks, completely neglecting that our hands have traces of poo all over them? Suddenly, our Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease has notched itself up to a whole new level.

Cruise ship virus

Yup, Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease – a.k.a. norovirus.

That’s the one that keeps popping up on cruise ships – a bad place to have a virus going round. Lots of people living close together, sharing the same food and hygiene facilities, in direct contact with each other and breathing each other’s air.

No wonder it spreads like wild-fire.Rediscover Hygiene logo

Which is what our new super-virus is likely to do too, because that’s exactly how we live day-to-day, isn’t it? Particularly in the colder countries – indoors in the central heating, sharing the same space – at the office, wherever we eat, on buses and trains, in schools, sitting together watching a show.

All those unwashed hands, applauding together – what kind of chance do we have?

Double defence

Actually, better than we might think. Because though we might be at hazard all clustered together by our lifestyle, we can sterilise these communal spaces before we enter them. Ensuring all viruses and bacteria are gone before we set foot in the place.

Conventional cleaning and disinfecting though, is not going to crack it. We can rub and scrub all we like, treating surfaces is not good enough, we’re expecting an airborne virus, remember? And normal procedures do not touch the air, even though it’s 80% of our enclosed living space.

To do the whole lot, we need a Hypersteriliser – about the size of a small wheelie-bin – the one sure way to destroy all viruses and bacteria in any room space completely.

This clever gadget works by misting up the entire room with ionised hydrogen peroxide. This causes the mist molecules to repel each other – driving them as far away as possible, hard up against walls, ceiling, floor and everything in the room – and of course, deep into any cracks and crevices.

At the same time, those charged particles actively reach out and grab at viruses and bacteria, attracted by the same magnetic charge. On contact, oxygen atoms, hydroxyl radicals and even ozone is released, oxidising all germs to destruction – on surfaces; under, over and behind things; and everywhere throughout the air.

High-level hygiene saves us all

Together with careful and consistent hand-washing, these two defences should keep us safe from pretty well any harmful pathogens, the super-virus as well . Fewer of us to catch the bug – less of a pandemic – more like isolated outbreaks, a more controllable size for the PM’s hit squads to handle.

A real pandemic of course, would swamp them entirely. So it’s up to us to make sure we’re properly protected – prevention being better than cure. Thanks, Prime Minister, we’ll take it from here.

Yup, you guessed it – it’s wash-your-hands time.

Originally posted 2015-06-08 14:11:55.

Antibiotics resistance is just the tip of the iceberg

Sinking SOS
Antibiotics won’t save us – they’re already dragging us down

And we mean the biggest iceberg ever.

Because big though the issue of antibiotics resistance is, what’s coming is far worse.

And all we’re doing right now is rearranging the deckchairs before we smash into that iceberg full speed with our eyes wide open.

We need a Plan B, PDQ.

You see, disaster though it is, antibiotics resistance – or antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as the professionals know it – is already a side issue. The collapse of modern medicine, yes. Maybe even the collapse of the world.

Lord Jim O’Neill, AMR Review chairman for the Prime Minister, sort of hinted at it in his official paper.

Mind you, he was using it to demand that future medical use of antibiotics be severely restricted – only made available once proving tests have been made to justify administering them.

Lurking peril

Ah, but check out Page 5 of his Review – the section on Livestock Production. Note that yearly AGRICULTURAL use of antibiotics is estimated “from around 63,000 tonnes to over 240,000 tonnes.”

240,000 tonnes – do the math. That’s 240 billion milligrams – a 32 mg dose for every one of us 7½ billion people here on Earth, EVERY YEAR.

Small yes, a sub-therapeutic dose, but exactly what animals get in their feed to fatten them up for market – accelerate their growth to super-size, super-fast.

Uh huh. The animals are farmed for food – we eat them – the antibiotics in their systems are ingested into our own.

Which means two things.

  • Our own bodies could already have resistance to some kinds of antibiotics from the food we eat.
  • We have similar metabolisms, so in the same way that they get fat, we get fat too.

And we certainly do.

Bigger killers than superbugs

It’s already pretty obvious that two thirds of us adults are already overweight.  Which puts us nicely in line for all the ailments that being fat and obese bring – type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and a whole string of others. Slow killers that take 20 or 30 years to claim us. Beyond the radar for most people – including the doctors and politicians who currently shape our lives.

OK, do the math again. Worldwide that adds up to 3.7 million deaths a year from diabetes,  8.2 million from cancer, and  17.3 million from heart disease  – nearly 30 million a year.

Against that, current deaths from antibiotics resistance total 700,000 worldwide – barely 2.3% of the big killers – though projected to rise as high as 10 million by 2050.

Right now, 43 TIMES MORE OF US are dying a slow death from being overweight than those who succumb to antibiotics resistant superbugs.

Bad, huh?

What about the animals?

But even that’s not the real threat, astronomic though those figures are.

Lord O’Neill and Co are worried about antibiotics resistance, right? About the possible TOTAL failure of antibiotics at some stage in the near future – AS THEY IMPACT HUMAN BEINGS.

But how about animals?

Worldwide right now there are 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cows, and around 1 billion each of sheep  and pigs. Pretty well all of them raised on super-intensive factory farms – thousands crammed together in close, unhygienic conditions, kept alive by regular doses of antibiotics.

Must be hefty doses too, if it takes 240,000 tonnes a year to keep them going.

So what happens if antibiotics fail the animals too?

Well, living so close on top of each other, any illness is going to go through them faster than norovirus on a cruise ship. Except it probably won’t be norovirus, but something more deadly.

Remember bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) – the CJD version of it? Millions of cows were destroyed to keep the disease out of the food chain.

The gruesome fact is that they were going to die anyway. Exactly the same as intensively farmed livestock around the world will do if a superbug takes hold – a runaway wildfire of animal deaths everywhere.

We’re going to get hungry

Which means overnight, no food to eat.

Worldwide.

No lunch or supper for 7½ billion people.

Well, not quite.

50 years ago, before antibiotics were shovelled into Daisy every day, world food production managed to support 2½ million people.

On the same land area – in fact, probably less from expanding cities and new towns springing up – antibiotics have pushed that to the 7½ billion we are now.

So at best 5 billion of us are going to go hungry – two thirds of the world population.

Replacement needed – urgent

So it’s not a question of controlling antibiotics, or running round looking for new ones. It’s time to dump them altogether. To start looking for replacements before a whole load of us die.

Time for our leaders to get serious. That iceberg is a lot bigger than it looks.

And it’s almost on top of us.

Picture Copyright: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo