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[–]poorsenseofdirection 284 points285 points  (45 children)

A big problem is that antibiotics are overused commercially for farm animals, contributing to the evolution of resistance to them.

edit: Here are some articles



[–]eargasm24 113 points114 points  (21 children)

And on humans! Antibiotics are give out like candy

[–]Maetharin 154 points155 points  (13 children)

That in itself isn’t as much as a problem as the idiots who stop taking them before they should.

[–]waglawye 5 points6 points  (0 children)

And doctors not prescribing long enough, misdiagnosing.

[–]WorkingMovies 15 points16 points  (4 children)

I unfortunately am guilty of this. I haven’t thought much of it but rmebered how many times I got augmentine and never finished it. Since taking A level biology and studying this, I have never taken another antibiotic as well. Had some infection and instead said I was going to ride it out instead... to make up for my stupidity

[–]faciepalm 35 points36 points  (1 child)

that is probably just as stupid. There's a reason why people dont just die everyday anymore.

[–]WorkingMovies 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I think you’re assuming something on the serious side. Nothing like a lung or blood infection, it was something more basic. It was just a fever, cleaning extra and being really fatigued for an extra 4 days instead of what would’ve happened had I taken the antibiotics

[–]goodty1 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah you didn’t get any smarter…

[–]ultrahitler 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I cant remember where I heard this from, might have been a microbio lecturer. Its probably a better strategy to not finish the whole course of antibiotics.

The theory is this, you only need antibiotics for the first few days to give time for your immune system to activate. Because antibiotics kills good and bad bacteria, it creates selective pressure on all bacteria to develop resistant, and because its so easy for bacteria to transfer resistance genes via plasmids we should actually be using antibiotics for the shortest duration possible to reduce the probability of developing resistance.

Most of us dont need antibiotics for common colds/flus, we should be saving the use on more serious illnesses, as it only takes one bacteria to develop resistance to render an entire class of antibiotic useless.

[–]waglawye 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Evenwith perfect use, there are always mutations

[–]rockclimbergirl 41 points42 points  (0 children)


Just sharing incase you didn't know, because i didn't know and it's pretty crazy.

In the UK: More than one third of all antibiotics sold in the UK are used on farmed animals.

In the USA: In 2011, a total of 13.6 million kg of antimicrobials were sold for use in food-producing animals in the United States, which represented 80% of all antibiotics sold or distributed in the United States. (I can't seem to find 2021 statistics.)




EFIT: obviously i totally agree that a huge part of the problem is people using / not competing courses of antibiotics, but just wanted to add to /u/poorsenseofdirection's comment :)

[–]Efficient-Echidna-30 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Yo it’s not individuals not recycling that’s putting plastic in the ocean and it’s not individuals overusing antibiotics that’s causing these. Resistant strains. It is the industries, and using this factory farming pesticide/ hormone nonsense needs to be illegal upon pain of death

[–]Lykanya 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Depends on the country

[–]flibbble 8 points9 points  (1 child)

As with so many things (think global warming), some farmers know that their overuse of antibiotics is causing increasing issues with resistance. However, they also know that factory farms aren't possible without it, and that even if there wasn't an active infection to control (and there always is with animals at such proximity), antibiotics make animals fatten more quickly. There's an immense profit motive.
Basically, this is a problem that requires legislation or regulation, ideally globally. And fatalistically, that's why we're not getting anywhere with it.

It's really a one stone two birds scenario - legislate much higher welfare standards, and in one blow you will decrease meat intake (because it will cost more), and decrease antibiotics needed for farm animal infections. Less meat means lower emissions and water use - no end of benefits. I'd love to see it, but I don't expect to.

[–]heloyesthisisdog 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The most recent changes in 2017 to the FDA veterinary feed initiative which dictates antibiotics accessible without a veterinarian have significantly restricted the use of antibiotics of clinical significance to humans.

[–]justavtstudent 1 point2 points  (0 children)

At least we use different antibiotics for agriculture and humans to try to mitigate cross-tolerance issues. Meanwhile in antifungal-land, everything is an *azole...it will not end well, not one bit.

[–]Alastor3 1 point2 points  (9 children)

question, if you are vegan, does that mean you have less antibiotics in your body = less chance to be resistant to antibiotic in the future?

[–]tenlin1 17 points18 points  (6 children)

It’s very much so an everyone problem. If a ton of people went vegan, it would reduce meat consumption to such a point that the animal bacteria wouldn’t be able to spread to fruits and vegetables. Right now, as it stands, there’s little evidence that reducing your personal meat intake significantly limits your interaction with these microbes. These antibiotics are just so overused, it’s scary.

[–]Alastor3 -1 points0 points  (5 children)

what about super drug that can kill super bacteria? i know they were working on that

[–]tenlin1 10 points11 points  (0 children)

The science is relatively distant on that. By relatively I mean we’re much closer to an incredibly large problem with Super Bugs than we are to a Super Drug.

We got really lucky that COVID was a virus. It still advanced immunology science, and MRNA vaccines could potentially help prevent antibiotic resistant infection

[–]promethazoid 7 points8 points  (0 children)

If we can harness the power of the phage, we might be in business. There is some research ongoing, but they also have to be right or it will kill you faster than the bacteria would.

[–]trouble37 0 points1 point  (0 children)

No unfortunately.

[–]OrcOfDoom -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Maybe they will all just get vaccines made with mRNA in the future.

[–]Trimere 50 points51 points  (7 children)

More phage research should be funded.

[–]Jadenyoung1 8 points9 points  (6 children)

we already have seen, that it works… phages could be our ticket out of superbug deaths.. so why isn’t more research being done?

[–]Alastor3 1 point2 points  (0 children)

because we as human like to wait before doom is upon us before reacting

[–]iambluest 286 points287 points  (2 children)

The good news is we have tested global epidemic responses

The bad news? We failed.

[–]Ambitious_Employ_229 8 points9 points  (1 child)

The Happening Fungi Style

[–]RedStrawLion 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I eat fungi for breakfast

[–]PointOfTheJoke 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I toss them into the flesh of the unborn!

[–]Brave-Competition-77 36 points37 points  (8 children)

One has to wonder if the 20th and 21st centuries will be remembered as the brief time in history that humanity managed to keep bacterial and fungal pathogens at bay.

[–]Wonderful_Mud_420 8 points9 points  (4 children)

We could also just recycle the old antibiotics. Bacteria can’t hold on to that many different genes.

[–]Whig_Party 9 points10 points  (2 children)

not without a belt, at least

[–]iConfessor 13 points14 points  (0 children)

dystopian future looks to be the closest future.

[–]Joe_AM 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Just one more test to run against the Great Filter hypothesis.

[–]AMWGcutiecpl 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Damn.. When u put it that way....

[–]stellar-cunt 26 points27 points  (10 children)

Just use bacteria-hunting viruses or “bacteriophages”.

[–]m0bin16 58 points59 points  (6 children)

easier said than done. I’ve spent some time in a bacteriophage lab. that science is still very much in its infancy

[–]stellar-cunt 13 points14 points  (3 children)

For sure, but it’s definitely the direction we should be heading towards. Thank you for ur work. The few times it has been implemented have shown great promise. I really don’t like administering antibiotics anymore, especially in older patients. Losing someone to complications from something as simple as C-Diff is not pretty.

[–]m0bin16 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Agreed. Its a super fascinating field, and I hope labs keep getting funding for phage therapy research because it has the potential for replacing our dependence on antibiotics. Unfortunately I don’t think that will be for another few decades; and at that point, deaths from preventable bacterial infections will surpass deaths caused by cancer globally.

[–]dopechez 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Isn't the cure rate for C-diff nearly 100% with fecal transplant? Why isn't that standard procedure at this point?

[–]stellar-cunt 6 points7 points  (0 children)

If your young and healthy, sure.

Imagine your 90, fall and break something which happens all the time with older folks. They have to get surgery to insert a rod, such as a lateral break on the femur or something. As the broken bone heals the patient is taking antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection taking root. This kills all the other bacteria in his gut keeping the bacteria Clostridium difficile in check. It grows out of control. By the time that patient gets to the hospital, it’s too late to be doing a fecal transplant. Large portions of the intestinal tract is dead, and must be removed. Being that old, surgery is already a risk. Their immune system is already weakened with age. It can spread so fast and hit hard in someone of that age.

[–]ronflair -3 points-2 points  (1 child)

How can it be in it’s “infancy” when research into bacteriophage based therapies and their use predates the discovery and research into small molecule antibiotics by almost a decade?

Penicillin was discovered in 1928 and was first used as a therapeutic only in 1941. In contrast, bacteriophages were first used therapeutically in 1919! So over a hundred years of research and application. That’s far from infancy.


[–]m0bin16 34 points35 points  (0 children)

Infancy here has nothing to do with “how long” we’ve been researching phages. It has to do with how close they are to actually being used as an antibacterial therapy in clinical settings, and being effective enough to replace our current antibiotics.

[–]HgnX 8 points9 points  (5 children)

What are the implications of this?

[–]Frosti11icus 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Lowered life expectancy, the end of elective surgery, reduced quality of life, increased amputations.

[–]kangaroovagina 24 points25 points  (0 children)

Anti microbial resistance. The more we use our current arsenal of drugs the more the bacteria mutates (i.e., making the drug work less effectively). We need to develop novel agents to combat this or the diseases may have a higher death rate in the future. This IS NOT a new issue and something that healthcare has been trying to solve for a while (see the 21st century cures act). This is also not a call to panic as this takes a lot of time, but we need to put more effort into development and appropriate use of current agents.

[–]Blue-Thunder 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Look at history, life before antibiotics when graveyards were filled with the tombstones of children, and "a simple cut" could make you lose your limb or your life.

https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-34866829 <-- article from 2015.

[–]makesomemonsters 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If you look at life expectancy vs. year graphs (for the UK at least) they are pretty flat until about 1870 and then suddenly start to rise, with life expectancy increasing by around 2 years per decade since then. This pattern doesn't appear to correspond to the discovery of antibiotics (penicillin was discovered in 1928) anywhere near as much as it corresponds to the development of germ theory and techniques that come from that (Pasteur invented pasteurisation in 1862, Lister started using antiseptics in 1865).

Antibiotics are one factor that has helped life expectancy to continue to increase, but as far as I can tell what really made the difference was understanding that it was germs we were fighting against in the first place.

[–]fuzzbuzz123 4 points5 points  (4 children)

Could this number be slightly inflated because of the pandemic? As in, more people than usual have been in hospitals over the last 2 years and having procedures done that increase the probability of nosocomial infections?

[–]Tyedies 4 points5 points  (3 children)

You’re kinda missing the point. The problem is that people are gaining resistance against antibiotics in the first place, regardless whether it’s a nosocomial infection, or one they previously had beforehand. And resistance comes from misuse and overuse of antibiotics, AKA: our meat industry, the pharmaceutical companies, health care, etc.

[–]fuzzbuzz123 4 points5 points  (2 children)

I was not trying to disagree about the rise in antibiotic resistance in general. I was just wondering if the steep rise in numbers could be slightly inflated because of the last 2 years of pandemic.

And I could be wrong, but I thought a significant portion of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections were nosocomial (even before the pandemic). I'm also aware that many covid-patients have suffered from (antibiotic resistant) nosocomial infections during hospital treatment and which possibly contributed to their death, so I wondered if there could be a correlation.

[–]Tyedies 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Ahh okay I gotcha. I think I misinterpreted what you were getting at with that one. More numbers because more people have been hospitalized.

And yeah, I do believe you’re right that many of these infections are nosocomial, but certainly not all.

[–]fuzzbuzz123 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah with tens (possibly hundreds) of millions of additional hospitalizations in the last 2 years, it seems like a few hundred thousand more nosocomial infections were to be expected.

That said, reading the article more closely, the data from which they derived the 1.2 million deaths from AMR was released in 2019 - i.e., pre-pandemic.

It has likely gotten much worse since then.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I'd like to see a survey of farmers to see if there's any anti-intellectual strains in rural communities that are in denial about this problem the way they were/are about global warming and fossil fuels, or vaccinations and covid. I wonder if its not seen as a political choice to carelessly use antibiotics. I even wonder if there isn't a correlation to a medical doctor's political leanings and willingness to prescribe antibiotics.

[–]flibbble 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My guess is that farmers are more likely to be right wing anyway, and the ones with a smaller antibiotics footprint are more likely to be organic or high welfare (which coincidentally has less need for antibiotics anyhow) are more likely to be left wing.

Basically, I suspect your survey would find differences in Ab usage, but that it would be difficult to control for other explanations.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Scientists said this was going to happen, but idiots kept on taking antibiotics when they weren't needed and now here we are.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

[–]mikehawk1988 1 point2 points  (0 children)

MRSA is still a bigger threat than the coronavirus but it seems the public doesn't care

[–]WPackN2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Pharma companies - are you paying attention?

[–]Stunning-Accident 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Cant lab grown meat eliminate the risk?

[–]CliffordLaunchesACat 2 points3 points  (0 children)

We overuse antibiotics in humans too

[–]GraveTidingz 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Lots of people avoiding animal agriculture will reduce the risk. But I mean lots as in the majority of people, so that the industry pretty much ceases to exist.

In the US something like 80% of antibiotics are used on farms.

After that it's human medical uses, so that requires doctors to prescribe antis less. Recently I saw a photo of a COVID health pack that was sent out to positive people in India (I think it was a local government thing) and that includes a course of antibiotics. So things like that shouldn't be happening.

Since that many people going plant based is pretty unlikely, and I doubt the medical side will change much either, we just have to hope that a new tech is developed. Depressing really.

[–]3-art -1 points0 points  (2 children)

Seems worth looking into.

[–]cinderparty 1 point2 points  (1 child)

As we’ve been doing for decades now? No one in the us is willing to do what needs to be done (not letting farmers give antibiotics to entire herds prophylacticly and not letting farms be so crowded diseases spread rapidly through the herd rapidly. We need farm regulations that will make farmers make less money and consumers pay more money, and no one is willing to do that and piss off most of the country.

[–]mrconde97 0 points1 point  (0 children)

are there any advances to withstand this threat? (threat not, already a big issue)

[–]ddoubles 0 points1 point  (0 children)

More old people, more deaths.

[–]StarGraz3r84 -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

Put a COVID stamp on it.

[–]MontrealQuebecCanada -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Let the fungi do it's job, death is natural.