Drug-resistant staph infections affect 90,000 Americans every year, killing more than the AIDS virus.
The last story you'll hear bout drug-resistant "superbugs"? Definitely not.
From livestock feed to hand soap, the use of antimicrobial drugs has gone mainstream in a way that most experts say does much more harm than good. On hand soap, for instance, vigorous scrubbing with traditional soap does the job just as well as antibacterial (the key is often the duration of the scrub, not the type of soap).
Bacteria reproduce prolifically, and anything that replicates so quickly can evolve quickly. All it takes for a bacterium to survive the onslaught of the latest drug is to be "lucky" enough to benefit from a random genetic mutation. Once that mutation forms, its beneficiary will survive, thrive and replicate, creating a new strain of drug-resistant bacteria.
That's why the over-use of antibiotics, or the use of antibiotics where they aren't needed, is so worrying. The germaphobic state of our culture will only invite more superbugs, unless we cut back on the unnecessary use of antibiotics. That way, the drugs will be effective when they're really needed.
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