The super bug. You know, the deadly supervirus or superbacteria that will take over the world and kill us all. Or something. Sometimes I think that one of those
superheroes supervillains microscopic killing machines will end up being our ultimate downfall, but other times I’m not so sure. Sometimes I think it’s more likely that someone will genetically engineer one of these superviruses and then unleash it into an air vent at Disneyland or something.
Other times, I think it might be more likely that our current dependence on antibiotics and other medications–and equal dismissal of the importance of finishing the damn prescription–will instead breed a bacteria that’s truly invincible (well, based on current medical technologies, anyway).
For example: there is currently a rising threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Yeah, remember TB? Newsflash: it ain’t extinct.
Based on this article from Bloomberg, there are a growing number of cases of drug-resistant TB strains across multiple countries. So what does this mean?
Pretty simple, really. It means that in a lot of countries around the world (particularly in Southeast Asia), there are a lot of people who have found that their unwanted TB tenants are resistant to second-line drug treatments.
So, you know, crap. Just when you think you’re doing okay and you won’t keel over and die, you realize that the universe has been laughing at you all this time. “Surprise!” says the universe. “YOU WILL DIE ANYWAY.”
Well, okay, maybe not. And I know there a lot more factors that contribute to the drug-resistant TB strains than not finishing your first-line treatment (if that is, in fact, even a factor).
But still. Drug-resistant TB isn’t exactly good news. Since, you know, it kills a lot of people. I got the tuberculosis vaccine ages ago (so says my mom), because I was born in Southeast Asia and my parents didn’t want me to catch TB and die. Which was nice of them. But my kids don’t have the vaccine. Neither does my husband. Which means TB could still be a pain in my family’s ass if we ever go visit relatives in Ye Olde Country. (So could malaria. And dengue fever. And, um, a lot of other things.)
And this new drug-resistant TB can be a pain in the world’s ass, since it can’t be killed, what with it being resistant to drugs and all. And THAT could be a big problem indeed.
What do you think is the bigger threat: drug-resistant strains of current viruses and bacteria, or a new superbug?