Antibiotics are widely used on livestock, and humans are paying the price, says Geoffrey Lean
It is the stuff of nightmares. What if the antibiotics that we have for so long taken for granted were to lose their power to fight infections, throwing us largely back on folk remedies and the body’s own defences?
Back in 1900, just two infectious diseases, pneumonia and tuberculosis, accounted for a quarter of all deaths in America. By 1990, they caused just four per cent – thanks largely to antibiotics. These apparently miraculous medicines have also beaten back a host of other plagues, from meningitis to syphilis, and revolutionised recovery from surgery and burns. Few of us do not have cause to be deeply grateful: only this week, one of my family was rushed to hospital with an infection that could well have proved fatal a century ago, only be to be safely discharged after two days of intravenous antibiotic treatment. MORE>>>>