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A Wake-Up Call On Antibiotic Resistance

A new report says deadly superbugs are everywhere—and warns of a coming “post-antibiotic era,” in which common infections kill.

With guest host Jessica Yellin.

This undated photo provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows plates of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in CDC’s healthcare-associated infections laboratory. (AP)

This undated photo provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows plates of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in CDC’s healthcare-associated infections laboratory. (AP)

It’s a frightening scenario. A deadly bacterial infection spreads across the globe and our antibiotics are powerless to fight it. Superbugs no longer the stuff of movies. A new report warns the rise of antibiotic-resistant bugs have become a Global Health Threat.  We could be facing a post-antibiotic future in which common infections and minor injuries kill again. Fighting this is challenging. The crisis has spread to your doctor’s office and many of America’s farms. This hour, On Point: the rise of superbugs and what we can do to roll back the threat.

Guests

Maryn McKenna, journalist, author and blogger. Writes the WIRED magazine blog, “Superbug.” Author of “Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA.” (@marynmck)

Dr. Stuart Levy, professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts University. Director of Tufts’ Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drugs Resistance. Author of “The Antibiotic Paradox: How Miracle Drugs are Destroying the Miracle.”

Dr. Michael Bell, deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s division of healthcare quality promotion.

From The Reading List

BBC: Antibiotic resistance now ‘global threat’, WHO warns — “The WHO says more new antibiotics need to be developed, while governments and individuals should take steps to slow the process of growing resistance. In its report, it said resistance to antibiotics for E.coli urinary tract infections had increased from ‘virtually zero’ in the 1980s to being ineffective in more than half of cases today.”

Reuters: ‘Superbugs’ that can overpower antibiotics are spreading: WHO — “In its first global report on antibiotic resistance, with data from 114 countries, the WHO said superbugs able to evade event the hardest-hitting antibiotics – a class of drugs called carbapenems – have now been found in all regions of the world.”

WIRED: Sneak Peek: What the White House is Thinking About Antibiotic Resistance — “The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST for short) is preparing a major report on the problem of antibiotic resistance. The report won’t be published for a few months, but today PCAST held one of its periodic meetings, and aired what it thinks the most important issues are going to be. For anyone who cares about our dwindling ability to fight infections, or the responsibilities of healthcare to curb antibiotic use, or the large role that agriculture plays in causing antibiotic resistance to emerge, its live webcast was a satisfying listen. “

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Apr 24, 2015
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Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

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Apr 24, 2015
Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

Artists of earth and sky. Rawhide, bear claw, eagle feathers and the glory of America’s Plans Indians, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 
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The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

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