01/03/2010 - One of the profound blessings in the age of modern medicine is that, when infection sets in, doctors can draw upon an array of antibiotics to knock the germs for a loop. Just imagine how it would have been for our ancestors, for whom a simple cut or bad tooth could mean "blood poisoning" and death.
The assumption has been that those times are gone for good. But medical scientists warn of what could become a grim reprise of sorts. They say that heavy reliance on antibiotics, especially in the mass production of farm animals, could result in those drugs losing their potency to combat infections among people.
The Associated Press quoted Duke University's Dr. Vance Fowler, an infectious disease specialist, on the threat from antibiotics overuse: "This is a living, breathing problem; it's the big bad wolf, and it's knocking at our door." Precautions, it seems, are much in order.
Read the full editorial Drug Fiends on The News & Observer's Web site.