The recent hype about Measles outbreaks has gotten me a little miffed — not because I’m afraid of measles, but because people are blinded. They are so blinded that they have become afraid of a disease that shouldn’t be so feared. They don’t see the big picture and are literally ignoring the reality of true suffering and travesty in our own country. The media has successfully brainwashed us so much that we are more afraid of Measles and Chickenpox that we seem to shrug off the reality of much more serious and deadly disease like diabetes, cancer, obesity, and what I’m going to bring to light today: Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs (ARSs).
All of us have probably heard about this fairly new phenomenon somewhere along the lines. It’s been in the papers, magazines, talk shows, and news for the better part of a decade. But we aren’t nearly as worried about it as we are Measles. Why are we more afraid of Measles than we are of ARSs? Remember that question, we’ll come back to it.
First, lets do a little comparison. Remember, we’re more afraid of Measles than ARSs. Should we be?
I’m using Measles as the example because of the latest attention.
Did you know at least 23,000 people die from ARSs each year in the United States, and over 2 million people contract one of the bacteria (a conservative estimate, according to the CDC)? There are 3,100 TIMES more cases of ARSs every year than of Measles.
So why be so concerned?
1. ARSs target anyone — the healthy and the weak. A completely healthy and active person can contract an ARS and can die from it within a number of days.
2. Unlike ARSs, Measles is highly treatable and is not a threat to healthy people.
3. ARSs are literally antibiotic-resistant, meaning doctors have no treatment for you. They would normally give you antibiotics, but these superbugs do not respond to them.
4. ARSs are man-made. They are mainly found in hospitals, but are also in the environment, and they came about because of the overuse of doctor-prescribed antibiotics.
Yes. The first antibiotic, penicillin, was used on Anne Miller when she was near-death after having a miscarriage that led to an infection in her blood. It was a great success. Penicillin’s discoverer, Alexander Fleming, became famous. But even back in the 40s he began to see resistance in bacteria, and he warned us of it. He recognized that the bacteria were mutating and warned of the overuse of his new discovery. Fast forward 6 decades to an era where the CDC estimates that more than half of all antibiotic usage is unnecessary. Every time an antibiotic is used, the genes of the bacteria mutate to be able to fight off the antibiotic better the next time it’s used, which eventually makes the bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Humans are creating superbugs because we’re overusing antibiotics.
Have you noticed how easy it is to get an antibiotic? You can walk into a doctor’s office with any number of complaints and leave with an antibiotic without having any tests done. Children, especially, receive more antibiotics than they should. According to the CDC, ear infections, sore throats, colds, flu, bronchitis, and coughs are generally viruses. Antibiotics only target bacteria, not viruses. They are completely ineffective against viruses, and yet children receive antibiotics almost every time they have a complaint. This is mainly to help ease the worry of the parent, but it’s a choice that has heavy consequences. Keep this in mind the next time you take your child to the doctor. Just because the doctor prescribes an antibiotic doesn’t mean it’s the right medication your child should be taking. Talk to your doctor about it first, and make sure he really thinks your child has a bacteria. Most doctors are more than happy to allow you to “wait it out” and will educate you on what you need to look out for if you need to head back in to the office. Antibiotics don’t just kill bad bacteria, they kill ALL bacteria. So if you kill off the good bacteria in your child’s body, it leaves more possibility for the bad bacteria that didn’t get killed to mutate and grow. Antibiotics are not healthy for the body, they should be a last resort.
Symptoms of ARSs versus Measles.
I could use pretty much any “vaccine-preventable” illness to prove this point. I’m again using measles as an example, but almost every “vaccine-preventable” illness has very mild symptoms for the majority of the population. The same cannot be said for ARSs. Symptoms of measles include a fever, dry cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, and a body rash that isn’t generally bothersome. Some of those symptoms do not even show up in all children, like the inflamed eyes, for instance. When you catch an untreatable bacteria, however, depending on which one you catch symptoms could include painful, pus-filled skin boils and lesions, severe abdominal pain, watery diarrhea, severe joint pain, pneumonia, and severe infections in parts of the body that could lead to amputation or removal of large amounts of tissue.
The main difference between these symptoms is that one is a 2-4 day mild illness (measles), and one generally takes several weeks, and hospitalization, to try and treat before symptoms may subside, but there is no promise that it’s gone forever. Most people that contract ARSs will have re-occurrences of the bacteria over their lifetime.
Why are we more afraid of Measles than we are of ARSs?
So back to the original question. Here’s the major contributing factor: the media. The media revels in glory when they hear of a small outbreak of mild viruses that they can spin to sound like the worst known illnesses on the face of the planet. It’s what they’re good at. Why is it that we seem to hear about every single case of measles, 100 times a day, even though there are so few cases compared to ARS cases? That’s the real travesty. And here’s why: The government has required all cases of “vaccine-preventable” diseases to be reported immediately, while there is NO requirement to do so for cases of ARS. So hospitals don’t report about these highly contagious and far more deadly infections, even though they are known to be much more prevalent in a hospital environment. This is why the CDC’s numbers are “conservative”. They don’t have real numbers, and the rate of infection and death is probably much higher than their estimates. But they have to play it safe and go with what they can comfortably say — “we for sure have at least 2 million cases and 23,000 deaths attributed to Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.” That’s just a little unsettling.
As an example, in 2011, KPC (one of the many strains of ARSs, first-ever seen in just 2009) came to one of the nation’s flagship research hospitals, the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, known as the NIH. Patient zero was a 43-year-old woman with complications from a lung transplant . She was transferred from a New York City hospital with this highly resistant superbug. The NIH is one of the most prestigious research hospitals in the country, but it had never had a case of KPC before. “We immediately went on high alert, the equivalent of hospital epidemiology Def-con 5,” David Henderson, the clinical center’s deputy director later told FRONTLINE in it’s episode Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria. “And we tried to implement as many things as we could think of at the time to prevent any further spread of the organism in the hospital.” The patient was later discharged, and hospital officials believed they’d contained the bug.
But unfortunately it was not contained. 18 other patients in the hospital contracted KPC, and 6 of them died. That’s a mortality rate of 33%! In this well-researched article on VaxTruth, Putting Measles Into Perspective, we can see that even prior to the vaccine being introduced, the mortality rate for measles was .015% — a little more than the death rate for the common cold. The stats are even better today — in about 1536 cases, which account for the number of cases in the United States spanning 10 years (2005-2014), there has been one death. The death occurred in 2005. That’s a mortality rate of .0065%. (Still more afraid of measles?)
The outbreak of KPC in 2011 proved to be devastating to the hospital, but after extreme quarantine, deep cleaning and sterilization of the entire hospital, and even adding on a new wing to house infected patients, it appeared that KPC was gone. That is until the following year. A 20 year old young man was being treated at NIH for complications from a bone marrow transplant. While at the NIH, he contracted KPC and died from the infection. Unfortunately, these stories of deaths attributed to contracting an ARS in a hospital is rampant, but the media generally doesn’t report about these precious lives lost.
So what are your doctors and researchers doing to help save us from this crisis of resistant bacteria?
Remember that our doctors really care about us. They want us to be healthy. It’s not all about the money like we hear so often, right? Well, actually it is. Every doctor in the United States is very aware of this deadly epidemic that is a threat to every human, but not much is being done. Why? Because it really is all about the money. Researchers and drug companies have actually closed down more than 80% of the antibiotic-making facilities in the United States because they don’t make as much money with antibiotics anymore. Doctors are trying to prescribe less antibiotics than they were before, which means less money is being made for those that create the drug. Why would they focus on making a drug that isn’t supposed to be used very much when they could be focusing on drugs for illnesses that a person will be required to take every day for the rest of their life? Diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, and so forth — those are the real money-makers, and that’s what researchers are focused on. In fact, on the list of “things to work on”, finding a cure or fix for the ARS problem is number 87 on the list, which means it will eternally be “shelved”.
I’m not trying to give us parents just another reason to be afraid, I’m just trying to show that your fears are misplaced. Measles should be on the bottom of your list to worry about. Don’t lost sleep over what the media is trying to hype up. Focus instead on what’s really happening in the United States, and the real threats to your children so we can work together to fix it. Become less fearful so we can become more powerful.
Becoming empowered is the best thing we can do to combat these realities. There are treatments for ARSs. There are a few remedies that I have seen work on ARSs with my own eyes. It doesn’t mean we should jump right on this and use it for everything, it means there needs to be more research, because I believe these remedies can work long term. I have only seen MRSA first-hand. It’s probably one of the most common ARSs in the United States. I have several friends that have contracted it, then went through several rounds of different antibiotics, but the infection always occurred again. They then tried a combination of tea tree oil, colloidal silver, active manuka honey, and coconut oil. Their infections (so far) have never reoccurred and they have finally found comfort again. Some have been 10+ years without the painful bacterial symptoms of MRSA. This means there is hope in the fight against ARSs.