Monday, May 14, 2007


Today's Washington Post has an article about the antibiotic-resistant infections sweeping the nations' hospitals. This made me think of Steve Gilliard of the News Blog, who has suffered a relapse in his fight to get out of the hospital and get well. He was already weak from serious kidney and heart problems; now he has a system-wide infection and can only be visited by people in what his friend Jen calls "bunnysuits". Steve was the first 'big' blogger ever to link to this site, so we have a special place in our heart for him and pray for his recovery.

It also made me think about a factor not mentioned in the article, Big Food's aggressive use of antibiotics in the production of meat. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 70% -- seventy percent! -- of the antibiotics used in this country are used on animals being fattened for slaughter:

It is livestock producers, however, who use the vast majority of antibiotics produced in the United States. An estimated 70 percent of antibiotics and related drugs produced in this country are used for nontherapeutic purposes such as accelerating animal growth and compensating for overcrowded and unsanitary conditions on large-scale confinement facilities known as "factory farms." This translates to about 25 million pounds of antibiotics and related drugs fed every year to livestock for nontherapeutic purposes—almost eight times the amount given to humans to treat disease.

Another reason to become a vegetarian.

1999 Guardian (uk) series: Antibiotics in our food

Time: Playing Chicken With Our Antibiotics
Overtreatment is creating dangerously resistant germs (2002)

Center for Science in the Public Interest: Antibiotic Resistance Project

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