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Antibiotic-resistant infections could lead to a public health crisis of "apocalypse" proportions.
We've been exposed to so many unnecessary antibiotic drugs in our lives that they now don't work as well as they used to. Researchers have sounded the alarm on this threat for years. Now, a top health official in England is warning that the threat of antibiotic resistance poses a public health crisis that is comparable to the threat of global warming, BBC News reported.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer of England, says that bacteria are rapidly adapting to evade the drugs, the National Post reported."It is clear that we might not ever see global warming, the apocalyptic scenario is that when I need a new hip in 20 years I'll die from a routine infection because we've run out of antibiotics," she announced.
"It is very serious, and it's very serious because we are not using our antibiotics effectively in countries."
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Who deserves a big, sloppy thank-you kiss for this crisis? Davies didn't go into specifics, but other researchers have long said that a major culprit is the meat industry. Researchers estimate that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the US are used by the meat and poultry industry to make animals get fatter faster and to prevent diseases in the unsanitary farms they're kept in. (But you don't have to become a vegetarian to be safe: Consumer Reports released a guide last year on the best places to buy antibiotic-free meat).
The National Resources Defense Council says that the use of antibiotics in the livestock industry is "a key culprit" in the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, pointing to a 2010 study by the FDA showing that 52 percent of chicken breasts tested were infected with antibiotic-resistant E. coli.
A recent investigation by The Kansas City Star focuses on antibiotic-resistant infections linked to the beef industry, and a study from last February showed that some farmers were developing drug-resistant skin infections from meat.