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Climate Hustle

2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24

Posted on 16 June 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

In a Warming World, Deadly Bacteria Are More Resistant to Antibiotics  

E.coli bacteria. Source NIAID 

E. coli bacteria. Source: NIAID

Tom Patterson became ill in 2015 while vacationing in Egypt. He was felled by Acinetobacter baumannii, an often deadly bacterium resistant to every antibiotic his doctors tried. Patterson, a University of California San Diego psychiatry professor, should have died, but didn’t. (Experimental infusions of bacteria-killing viruses known as bacteriophages ultimately saved his life.) But his near-death experience from a superbug he picked up in a warm country — an organism that also has afflicted many hospitalized wounded troops in Iraq and Kuwait — raises provocative questions about drug-resistant bacteria and their relationship to our increasingly hotter planet.

“Travelers returning from tropical and other warm areas where multi-drug resistant pathogens have become more widespread will increasingly challenge the antibiotics on our shelves,” said Robert T. Schooley, an infectious diseases specialist at UC San Diego, who treated Patterson. “Turning up the temperature of the incubator in which we live will clearly speed the evolutionary clock of bacterial and other pathogens with which we must co-exist.”

Experts already know that climate change has become a significant threat to global public health, particularly as rising temperatures have produced greater populations of disease-transmitting insects, such as mosquitoes. But warmth also encourages bacteria to grow, providing them a chance to mutate and elude drugs that once easily killed them. While antibiotic resistance is believed largely due to the indiscriminate prescribing of antibiotics, experts now think that other environmental stresses — climate change among them — also may be at work.

The world is confronting a growing and frightening danger from multi-drug-resistant infections, with many now difficult or impossible to treat. The World Health Organization has described this scenario as “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” There are more than 2 million cases and 23,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

In a Warming World, Deadly Bacteria Are More Resistant to Antibiotics by Marlene Cimons, Climate Nexus, June 14, 2018


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Comments

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  1. I probably would not have picked this one.  It might be true or not. 

    The fact that we are using and misusing antibiotics on a biblical scale, particularly in food production in the tropics, confounds the data available, which makes it look like sensationalizing.

    Just a niggle really.

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