CDC Says Antibiotic Resistance at Critical Levels | Natural Health Blog

Date: 09/28/2013    Written by: Hiyaguha Cohen

CDC Says Antibiotic Resistance at Critical Levels

Like the last kid in a storm to realize the floodwaters are rising, the CDC has just officially announced that the overuse of prescription antibiotics may lead to disastrous consequences. The agency has released a 114-page report in which it notes that a minimum of 23,000 people die directly from antibiotic-resistant infections each year, and another 100,000 die from related complications.1 At least two million people a year contract such resistant infections.

The report warned of "potentially catastrophic consequences" if the US doesn't "take immediate action." Soon, it says, if we continue on the course we're on, we will see rising numbers of diseases that can't be treated with existing medications. Experts say this means that even minor infections could one day result in death sentences, as in pre-antibiotic times.

"If we're not careful, the medicine chest will be empty when we go there to look for a life-saving antibiotic," says CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden.

A few of the infections on the CDC danger list already resist all known antibiotics, while others resist only certain types of antibiotics, at least at this stage. The report names 17 antibiotic-resistant infections and ranks their level of threat as "urgent," "serious," or merely "concerning."2 The infections in the Urgent category have stopped responding to most drugs; serious infections are already resistant to at least one drug; and "concerning" infections are just starting to show signs of antibiotic resistance.

When the CDC says that the US needs to take "immediate action," what does it mean? Essentially, the report says that we need to "change the way antibiotics are used." Doctors need to cut back on prescribing antibiotics and patients need to be more circumspect in taking them. We've written many times before about how overuse of antibiotics leads to widespread antibiotic resistance. According to the CDC, up to half of all antibiotic prescriptions filled in the US are completely unnecessary. In fact, a chart appearing in USA Today shows that in certain regions of the US, as many as 1237 antibiotic prescriptions were filled per 1000 people in the year 2010! 3  Even in the "best" regions, where the lowest incidence of prescribing occurred, we're talking about a minimum of 529 antibiotic prescriptions per thousand people that year.

"It's very complicated, explains Dr. Vicky Fraser, who heads the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis. "There is a misperception that antibiotics help everything, even viral infections." In other words, she blames patients who pressure doctors to "do something" to make them feel better when they have colds and viruses. Since viral infections don't respond to antibiotics, that's a futile solution. Fraser says people worry about missing work and school and that makes them panic when they get sick, leading them to beg their doctors for penicillin or another drug. Conceding to consumer demand, doctors reach into the toolbox and prescribe antibiotics. I'm sorry, but doesn't anyone else have a problem with this scenario--doctors knowingly giving patients something that won't help them and that has the potential for creating drug resistant pathogens that can ultimately kill hundreds of thousands if not millions of people? Who's the doctor here? Where's the ethical responsibility?

In any case, that problem may soon be solved as Duke University just released a report indicating that researchers have developed a blood test that can distinguish the difference between viral and bacterial infections with more than 90-percent accuracy.4 On the other hand, some consumers may yet demand antibiotics even knowing they have a viral disease, and some doctors may still oblige…unless regulations prohibit them from doing so.

But, and this is a surprise to most people, the truth is that most of the antibiotics in circulation in the US--up to 80 percent in fact--get fed to animals, not directly to humans. Antibiotics in the food supply pose an even greater problem than antibiotic over-prescription. Farmers add antibiotics to animal feed to prevent and treat disease because when animals are packed close together as in large-scale industrial farming, diseases breed and spread lightning fast, and the farmers want to prevent problems before they develop. They also use the antibiotics to spur rapid growth, along with added hormones. This literally turns industrial animal farms into breeding grounds for drug resistant pathogens…on a Biblical scale. Also, traces of these drugs leech into the meat and water supply, spreading the problem to virtually every person living in the country .

Although the agency noted that this issue needs to be addressed, it didn't offer specific solutions. "Much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe," the report says. Getting industrial farmers to cut back probably won't happen unless the report generates regulations calling for that measure. Already, the FDA officially has recommended that farmers stop using antibiotics to promote animal growth, but those who don't comply suffer no repercussions. Take a guess how many comply.

By the way, it isn't only through meat and dairy that your food delivers a helping of antibiotics. Vegetables and fruits often are sprayed with antibiotics to keep them from harboring disease. In fact--and here's a horrifying reality--USDA loopholes allow even certain organic produce to be sprayed with antibiotics. Right now, only organic apples and pears get the dousing. If you want to be sure you are getting truly organic fruit, you'd better find a local grower you trust and do your research.

In any event, it's good news that the CDC has made noise about this issue. You can help move the report into some sort of action by writing to your legislators and expressing your concern.

  • 1. Dennis, Brady and Vastag, Brian. "Drug resistant bacteria pose potential catastrophe, CDC warns." 16 September 2013. Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/drug-resistant-bacteria-pose-potential-catastrophe-cdc-warns/2013/09/16/4cd2d482-1ed6-11e3-b7d1-7153ad47b549_story.html
  • 2. Tavernise, Sabrina. "Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Lead to 23,000 Deaths a Year, C.D.C. Finds."16 September 2013.  New York Times. 19 September 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/health/cdc-report-finds-23000-deaths-a-year-from-antibiotic-resistant-infections.html
  • 3. Kim Painter. "Drug-resistant bacteria." USA TODAY September 16, 2013. (Accessed 20 Sept 2013.)  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/16/cdc-germ-list/2819577
  • 4. Marker, Jonathan. "Scientists create blood test that distinguishes between viral and bacterial infections." 19 September 2013. Science Recorder. 20 September 2013. http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/scientists-create-blood-test-that-distinguishes-between-viral-and-bacterial-infections

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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Dr.P.k.Chhetri on
    November 9, 2013 - 5:25am

    World Health Organisation, (An Open letter)
    Avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
    Subject: My article “Counting on uncertain solutions” on treatment of AIDS
    Sir,
    Recently held “AIDS Vaccine Conference” in Barcelona expressed its concern on dearth of fund to proceed further with research on HIV vaccine.
    It seems from the report that around US$10 billion has been spent so far on HIV prevention R&D. Despite best efforts, HIV/AIDS vaccine is still a far cry. My personal opinion as a lay man is: since HIV is highly variable virus, which mutates very readily, it is perhaps absolutely impossible to find out a single HIV vaccine like obtaining a single vaccine against all the strains of common colds, because common colds virus also mutates frequently. It also implies that there are different strains of HIV, even within the body of a single infected person. Therefore, couldn’t we arrive at a conclusion that it is sheer wastage of precious public money on research to find out a vaccine?
    Then is it not logical to try to find out a remedy, which could eliminate the virus itself from the body. The whole concept of AIDS depends on abrupt fall in patient’s immunity, which triggers opportunistic infections in the body, and patient is hastened towards death. So based on immune-deficiency theory, if we could find out a remedy, which will replenish our lost immunity, then HIV will not be able to cause any damage to the body, and possibility, the HIV infection itself will be eliminated, but it is subject to further research.
    One such remedy has been accidentally found by me, while treating my typhoid and para- typhoid infection. Within a fortnight of its administration on myself, I recorded sudden rise in my WBC count by 1500, which rise persisted. I used this remedy several times on myself, and also on my patients with abnormally low WBC reading and every time the result was the same, and once WBC gone up, the body consistently maintained that level, and smaller opportunistic infections, such as minor skin symptoms and UTI, vanished. I have recorded my finding in a recently published article: “Counting on uncertain solutions”, where I have incorporated the name of that remedy also. But neither have I means nor the time to observe its meticulous functioning into human body, but it works.
    I practice alternative medicines including homeopathy for free out of compassion to poor people. I have so far treated thousands of complicated cases including MDR TB free of cost. So you can understand, I am not after any name or money, but I am genuinely interested in the welfare of humankind and to share my knowledge for the benefit of the world.
    Kindly go through my article and decide on its merit, hopefully you will not ignore my finding in the greater interest of humanity.
    (Dr.Puran Kumar Chhetri)
    India

  •  
    Submitted by Dr.P.k.Chhetri on
    November 9, 2013 - 5:44am

    IF TB turns resistant, then is mankind helpless?

    In spite of discovery of potent anti-tuberculosis drugs and despite strenuous efforts by the WHO and the International Union Against Tuberculosis, tuberculosis remains a major health problem in the world. TB is the second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide. As per official statistics, in 2011, about 8.7 million people fell ill with tuberculosis and 1.4 million died, but the unofficial figure may be not less than five times more in underdeveloped and developing countries. The major victims are women and mal-nourished children, and it is the leading killer of people with HIV infection. It is said that a healthy person simply needs to inhale only a few of tuberculosis germs to become infected, but it is not a fact, otherwise the doctors and nurses of poor countries attending to TB patients, who usually do not take much precaution, would have been infected with the disease. TB does not develop so easily as envisaged by the doctors, unless the immune system of the victim becomes compromised due to some or the other reason. A mal-nourished, a diabetic, a smoker, an HIV positive or any other person whose immunity has considerably fallen due to any prolonged disease are prone to develop tuberculosis infection. Every day our body is bombarded by TB germs, when we travel by public transport, because every third person in the world is a latent carrier of tubercular germs. But such persons do not require any TB medicines, unless they develop active TB, though they are prone to such risk throughout their lives; but in allopathic system there is nothing as preventive medicine. Of late even TB germs have developed resistance to major TB drugs available in the market. As per the latest survey, multi-drug resistant TB (MDR) is present virtually in all countries of the world.
    The major symptoms are: cough (in pulmonary tuberculosis), fever, night sweats, weight loss, or sometime low grade temperature in the evening not necessarily active fever. I have seen, people with low grade temperature and malaise taking analgesics for months on end, without going for major pathological tests. Particularly in non-pulmonary tuberculosis, except low grade temperature, no other prominent symptoms are visible for months. Poor and low-income group people usually do not consult doctors for such minor symptoms, because they fear doctors’ exorbitant fees. Doctors are usually becoming unreachable because of their high consultation fees, long prescriptions and an elaborate list of pathological tests. Even if TB infection is detected, TB medicines are not easily affordable being highly priced, a poor man cannot afford to buy such costly remedies. If he goes to the government hospital, then for procuring weekly doses, he has to stand in a long queue for hours, which he cannot afford to do every week, because he is a daily wage earner, and if he fails to earn in any particular day that means his family has to starve. Therefore, with little improvement in symptoms, he leaves taking medicines and does not complete the course, because he does not have time at his disposal to go to hospital every week; he considers it wastage of his productive hours. The ultimate result is: he develops drug resistance, and his life is shortened. When he dies, his family members become stranded. And the other fact is: the supply of medicines in government hospitals is always poor; therefore, one or the other medicine always remains unavailable. A poor man has to remain satisfied with lower doses of medicines, which is highly dangerous, but who will explain? Most of the government hospitals have simply become mechanical in their approach to poor patients. This is the ground reality in India and elsewhere in poor and developing countries. I gathered this experience during my long tenure as a civil servant.
    Streptomycin is at present out of use because of its high toxicity. Other remedies are: Isoniazid, Rifampcin, Pyrazinamide, Aminoglycosides, Capreomycin, Viomycin, Kanamycin, Ethambutol, Thaicetazone, PAS, Ethionamide, Cyloserine, Clofazimine (B663), Ciprofloxacin, Ofloxacin, Rifambutin (Ansamycin), Rifapentine, Macrolides, Sulfonamides, Tetracyclines, Gangamycin and the list goes on. But unfortunately, Mycobacterium tuberculosis is also gradually developing resistance to all available anti-tubercular remedies. Moreover, every anti-tubercular antibiotic is highly toxic one or the other way, either it affects kidneys, liver, nervous system or develops rashes and allergy, hypocalcaemia, hypokalaemia, diarrhoea, in short, the whole system of the human body is somehow or other feels the pinch. It is a belief that in childhood, inoculation of BCG prevents tubercular infection, but its efficacy is doubtful, say if the child is malnourished. Then what is the solution? We have to eradicate tuberculosis from the world, but is it possible? I think it is!
    I shall discuss here my own experience with the TB patients. My first case was one multi-drug resistant TB case, who was infected with pulmonary tuberculosis third time. Since he was not responding to Streptomycin, Ethambutol or Rifampcin and other available anti-TB drugs, he was being administered Ciprofloxacin for more than two months without any sign of improvement. On examination, I have found apart from lungs, he had TB infection in abdomen also, which was detected when his ascitic fluid was examined microscopically. On the whole, it was a hopeless case. I have marked, abdominal TB normally does not respond much to orthodox treatment, and consequently proves fatal in course of time. Similarly, kidney cases are also not easily amenable to antibiotic treatment, because a couple of such rejected cases have been successfully treated by me. That MDR patient responded under my treatment simply within a fortnight, though I kept him under my observation for almost two years. I treated him simply on humanitarian ground, because I don’t charge fees and it is not my profession either. Even after fifteen years of my treatment, I see him moving about in robust health, though it is another story he does not recognise me these days. But it is not his fault, because human memory is very short. Another complicated case, which came to me for consultation, was one tubercular pleural effusion case, who was not responding to any antibiotic treatment. This case also responded under my treatment within a week only. In fact, this man was very serious, when I took up his case. For months he was under treatment of one specialist without any marked improvement. I treated him for two months and left him with an instruction to continue medicines for further six months and discontinue. After more than a year, I had happened to meet him at Darjeeling, he was absolutely fine. There are hundreds of complicated tubercular cases of different nature, which came to me for consultation. Recently one case of a mentally retarded child has been referred to me. Though the child was born in Japan, due to some infection the child had become mentally retarded, neither the child could speak. I suspected it to be due to TB meningitis infection during his infancy, and accordingly I prescribed TB remedies, and the child has nicely responded to my treatment and has so far developed quite good memory, though he is still under my observation.
    There are two remedies in homeopathy, Tuberculinum and Bacillinum, which are highly effective in treatment of any kind of TB cases. Tuberculinum is mainly effective in pulmonary tuberculosis and Bacillinum in other kinds of TB. But for MDR lungs TB case, I also used Stennum Met to expedite recovery. To restore the health quickly, Calcarea Hyphosphoricum can also be administered simultaneously. Tuberculinum can be used as a preventive remedy also, when it is suspected one has a latent TB infection in his body, because I have used this remedy with miraculous result. So a child can be easily administered a drop of either Tuberculinum or Bacillinum on monthly basis as a protection against TB infection, but in allopathy, as we know, there is no such preventive remedy. The WHO can think of utilising these two remedies for eradicating TB infection from the world, when the MDR TB cases are on the ascendant. Why use a mirror to look at a bracelet?
    Dr.P.K.Chhetri
    India

  •  
    Submitted by Dr.P.k.Chhetri on
    November 25, 2013 - 10:55am

    An open Reply

    Prof. Dame Sally Davies
    Chief Medical Officer,
    Department of Health,
    Room 114,
    Richmond House, 79 Whitehall,
    London SW 1A 2NS
    Sub: Reply to your Memo: CMOTO796560 Dated: Nil
    Respected Madam,
    I feel highly honoured to receive your reply to my article on MDR TB published in The Statesman under the title “Recuperating herbally”(28-06-2013).
    Apropos your letter (via email), I have a few submissions:
    Dr.Maree Barnett (Policy Lead, Emerging Infections & Zoonoses) wrote on your behalf: “CMO is very aware of the rising risk to the public as the number of new infectious diseases grows but with very few new antibiotics being developed. She has made call for antimicrobial resistance to be put on the national risk register in the UK and raised the issue at an international level, including the G8 and World Health Organisation. She is working with these groups to drive action on this important area.
    “The Government supports a range of research to promote the development of new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines for TB. These include 6.5 million pounds for the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, 23.3 million pounds for the Global Alliance for the TB Drug Development and 10.5 million pounds for the AERAS Global TB Vaccine Foundation.
    “... Public Health England is leading an oversight group which brings together partners from the Department, NHS England, local government, NICE, the British Thoracic Society, academia and TB Alert. The group is working on a national strategy to reverse the trend of increasing TB rates in the UK.
    “I hope this letter reassures you that CMO is alert to these issues and actively working on solutions to the increasing issue of antimicrobial resistance both generally and in patients with MDR TB.”
    Madam, I highly appreciate your effort and concern, but there is a limit. Do you disagree; the new antibiotics will face the same fate in course of time. Wouldn’t the microbials develop resistance to new antibiotics?
    I figure out from the letter that the research is on to develop new antibiotics to arrest MDR TB infection, but as time and tide waits for no one, similarly microbials will not stop to eliminate precious human lives till the time new antibiotics are developed to overwhelm them. May be the MDR TB cases are very few in the UK, because most of the people are highly conscious of their health, but the situation is entirely different in under-developed countries, where illiteracy is maximum in number and health related facilities are minimal.
    Though it is not easy to believe, yet it is a fact, less than 1 pound, in terms of Indian currency, worth of homeopathic remedies are required to treat an MDR TB case, leave alone diet, provided other complications are not there. A single dose of Tuberculinum or Bacillinum in 1M potency, along with other additional remedies in drop doses, is capable of retarding MDR TB instantly. You can notice mark difference in the X-ray chest of a pulmonary tuberculosis patient within a fortnight of the administration of the prescribed homeopathic remedies.
    It is true Madam, you are trained in allopathic system of treatment, but you have to remember, on your shoulders rest the health of entire population of the UK.
    The UK once in the past ruled almost half of the world, and at present, it is the head of the Commonwealth of Nations, so in terms of treatment aspects most of the countries in the world look at the UK for guidance. Therefore, is it not wise to try out other remedies simultaneously, when the available antibiotics are helpless to provide relief to the burgeoning MDR TB cases? What is the harm in trying out these alternative remedies as a trial case for a month on pulmonary tuberculosis patients, when antibiotics have miserably failed to provide relief? I assure you madam, these remedies work without fail, because I have treated free of cost hundreds of complicated TB cases including non-responsive MDR TBs, though simultaneously I applied other remedies also to expedite recovery.
    Madam, we have to remember a basic fact, no system of medicine is perfect, hence, I think, there is no harm in applying medicines of other systems of therapies also, when it relates to saving precious human lives.
    Let us give up our prejudices in regard to our systems of medicines, because we have to value the life of humankind above everything.
    I may like to add, there are most effective remedies in homeopathy to tackle diseases like, asthma, typhoid, tumours including bones, skin diseases, UTI etc. In asthma, a single teaspoonful remedy may suppress the symptoms of the disease instantly, typhoid hardly within a week, UTI within hours, though it takes a few more days, arrhythmia when the patient’s blood pressure and pulse is falling abnormally, and it is a medical emergency, within a few minutes, and so on and so forth. It is no exaggeration; I am talking from my years of experience gathered by me treating patients of different diseases.
    But I do not claim, homeopathy is perfect as a science of treatment, because in diagnostics and tackling medical emergencies and in surgeries, allopathy outstrips every other systems of treatment. Therefore, if homeopathy and allopathy work in tandem, then at least in terms of human health, the world could feel sanguine and fearless.
    I hope, in the greater interest of humankind, you will definitely appreciate my views and refrain from sticking unnecessarily to unresponsive antibiotics and waste precious time, and, therefore, will allow the above mentioned remedies to be applied on generally and in patients with MDR TB in the UK.
    With best of regards and best wishes!
    Dr.P.K.Chhetri
    India Email: [email protected]

  •  
    Submitted by Dr.P.k.Chhetri on
    November 27, 2013 - 8:31am

    One can read my article on ancient Indian medical education system under the link:
    www.thestatesman.net/section/847-451-NB-Extra.html under the title:
    Learning from the originals.
    In the article I have also highlighted how the ancient Indians used to treat iron-deficiency anemia.

    Dr.P.K.Chhetri

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