Introduction: Peak Antibiotics (02:04)
Bacteria have millions of years of evolution on their side, and many have developed resistance to antibiotics. Every use of antibiotics contributes to a problem that may pose as much of a threat to civilization as global climate change and peak oil.
Super Bugs and Beneficial Bacteria (06:26)
Annie and her parents recall the day a small cut led to a life-threatening MRSA infection. The bacteria live harmlessly in many noses but can get onto our skin or into our bloodstreams and turn deadly. Some bacteria are beneficial.
Dawn of Antibiotics (05:34)
Microbiologist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin while studying staphylococcus bacteria in 1928. Antibiotics are an essential part of modern medicine that enables everything from neonatal care to organ transplants. Indiscriminate use and microbial mutation have led to antibiotic resistance.
Radical Treatment (02:09)
A woman recalls her year-long battle with C-diff. It may have been exacerbated by antibiotics she received for emphysema, which eliminated beneficial bacteria in her digestive tract. She is healthy again thanks to a fecal transplant.
Threat Across Borders (08:31)
The ease of modern travel makes bug outbreaks more difficult to contain. Maureen Dunn recalls how her brother’s overseas hernia operation led to a superbug infection. Tuberculosis thrives in the Third World despite being under control in developed countries; XDR-TB, is especially concerning.
Infected Children (04:23)
MRSA outbreaks are common in New Zealand, though the disease was once confined to hospitals. Deborah Williamson draws a correlation between MRSA and high childhood skin and respiratory infection rates.
Antibiotic Use on Farm Animals (03:53)
Eighty percent of antibiotic use is in animal farming. This adds to the problem of antibiotic resistance, creating superbugs that can jump from livestock to humans.
Antibiotic Crisis (06:40)
Effective antibiotics may run out in just a few years. The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases stresses the need to educate the public on how to prevent infections. With antimicrobial supplies dwindling, it is essential that medical professionals be mindful of overprescribing.
Medical Advances (04:18)
Scientists are breaking new ground in bacteriophage therapy and other treatments. Siouxsie Wiles explains how making bacteria glow in the dark may help treat infections. A new antibiotic was recently discovered in a researcher’s back yard.
Credits: Peak Antibiotics (00:52)
Credits: Peak Antibiotics
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