Nov
19

Coming next to kill us in our beds: pigs

By

Oops, wrong terror. Daesh sleeper agents hiding among refugees is the least of our worries:

Medicine’s final line of defence against deadly disease has been breached, raising the spectre of a global epidemic, scientists say, after finding bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotics.

The discovery could herald a virtual return to the Dark Ages, with doctors unable to control common germs like E. Coli, rolling back centuries of medical progress.

We could be headed for a period when even the smallest infections could prove lethal, say reports:

… British scientists have discovered that pigs and meat sold in China are infected with bacteria carrying a new gene which makes them resistant to these rearguard antibiotics.

The MCR-1 gene is in a part of the DNA which can be easily copied and transferred between bacteria leading experts to conclude that ‘pandemic resistance is inevitable.’ The mutated forms were also found in 1322 hospitalised patients in China and is thought to have already spread to Laos and Malaysia.

British scientists and health experts described the discovery as ‘worrying,’ ‘disturbing’ and ‘alarming.’

It gets better:

Dr David Burch, veterinary surgeon and an independent member of the Ruma (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture) Alliance, said: “The report of a new resistance gene (mcr-1) against polymixins (colistin) found in Escherichia coli from pigs in China, which can be potentially plasmid transferred between bacterial species and potentially to man via meat, is indeed disturbing and disappointing.”

He pointed out that China’s pig farming industry is the largest in the world, more than twice the size of Europe’s. The use of generic antimicrobial drugs in animals is not normally under veterinary control in China.

The risk of the resistance gene spreading was heightened by increased trade and tourism bridging China and the West, said Dr Burch.

Call me cynical, but I’m not thinking the threat of a global pandemic will even tap the brakes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And John Kasich’s Radio Free Jesus is unlikely to stop a zombie superbug apocalypse either.

But one can imagine that somewhere they’re trying to figure out how to hang swine from the launch rails of an F-16 even as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi echoes Indiana Jones: “Pigs, Why’d it have to be pigs?”

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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