by Scott Kaufman
October 25, 2013
an interview that aired on PBS’s Frontline, an
associate director of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), Dr.
Arjun Srinivasan, said that,
"for a long time, there have been
newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about ‘The
end of antibiotics, question mark?’ Well, now I would say you
can change the title to ‘The end of antibiotics, period.’"
"We’re in the post-antibiotic era,"
"There are patients for whom we have
no therapy, and we are literally in a position of having a
patient in a bed who has an infection, something that five years
ago even we could have treated, but now we can’t."
As an example, Dr. Srinivasan discussed
the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or
which recently made
headlines when word spread that three players from the NFL’s
Tampa Bay Buccaneers were battling it.
The options for treating it have always
been limited, but until the past decade, MRSA infections were rarely
seen outside of health-care facilities.
But about a decade ago, Dr. Srinivasan
began to see,
"outbreaks in schools [and] health
clubs. And what most of these people were getting was something
very different from what we saw in hospitals."
"In hospitals, when you see MRSA
infections, you oftentimes see that in patients who have a
catheter in their blood, and that creates an opportunity for
MRSA to get into their bloodstream," he continued.
"In the community, it was causing a
very different type of infection. It was causing a lot of very,
very serious and painful infections of the skin, which was
completely different from what we would see in health care."
Because such infections can’t be treated
with conventional antibiotic therapies, doctors have begun to "reach
back into the archives" and use older antibiotics.
"We’re using a lot of
colistin," Dr. Srinivasan said.
"And we’re using more of it every
year. It’s very toxic. We don’t like to use it. It damages the
kidneys. But we’re forced to use it in a lot of instances."
The Frontline report,
"Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria," can be viewed below:
Hunting the 'Nightmare Bacteria'