Sunday, March 07, 2010

Why Can't We Take Effective Steps to Conquer the Superbugs?

We all know that superbugs are emerging that available antibiotics cannot kill.  The overuse of antibiotics spurs evolutionary adaptation and the production of newer versions of bugs more resistant to treatment. Doctors overprescribe antibiotics, sometimes at the insistence of patients who demand them despite the futility of their use.

What is not so well known is that most antibiotics are used on animals.

A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that in the United States, 70 percent of antibiotics are used to feed healthy livestock, with 14 percent more used to treat sick livestock. Only about 16 percent are used to treat humans and their pets, the study found.

Why doesn't Congress do something about this? Apparently because the agribusiness lobby is too powerful. The Obama administration has not shown any determination to take them on. 

Just one more sign of our dysfunctional democracy.

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