By Rick Oltman, May 29, 2019
Remember the saying, “Better late than never.”? Well, it depends on the context. This context is about infections, border security and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
The Guardian in Great Britain published a story on May 26th titled, “World’s rivers awash with dangerous levels of antibiotics.” The sub-title is “Largest global study finds the drugs in two-thirds of test sites in 72 countries.”
A couple months ago, CBS’s 60 Minutes had a segment on antibiotic resistant bacteria.
In neither case is this information new.
Forty-three years ago in 1976, as a college student in a pre-med Molecular Biology class, we were told about the dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria by a professor who had done research at The National Institutes of Health (NIH), and had a Ph.D. in Immunology.
Penicillin was developed at the beginning of WWII and saved a lot of lives on the battlefield, but most antibiotics are “baby boomers,” created after the war. Basically, there has always been antibiotic resistant bacteria in locations where you would expect to find both bacteria and antibiotics: in hospitals.
Thirty years after the end of WWII, we were told in a classroom that scientists were finding bacteria that were immune to antibiotics a hundred miles from the nearest hospital, and that it was concerning researchers … then.
Over prescribing drugs is one cause of the resistance. Stupid behavior like pouring tons of antibiotics into animal feed: cattle, chickens, et cetera, has filled the natural environment with so much and so many kinds of drugs, that bacteria naturally develop resistance through recombinant DNA, transcription errors, all the incredible ways that cells divide, making copies of themselves. From the scientific point of view, the sub-cellular process is absolutely fascinating.
However, as some families of bacteria can optimally divide every 15 minutes, the number of generations created, up to 35,000 in one year, can develop immunity over a very short period of time.
Tuberculosis (TB), the disease that has killed more humans than any other, is a good example of the development of drug resistance.
Dr. Robert Koch, with the Imperial Department of Health in Berlin, discovered the cause of Tuberculosis in 1882. Sixty five years later, in 1947, streptomycin was shown to be effective against TB. Then strains of it became “drug resistant.” Research continued, other drugs were used, then TB became multi-drug resistant (MDR). Today, there is extensively drug-resistant Tuberculosis (XRD-TB), which is frequently fatal.
Antibiotic resistance threatens EVERYONE. And this is where border security is so important. Everybody who enters our country must be free of disease, as well as we can screen for them.
With all the illegal immigration from Third World countries, although drug resistant bugs are not confined to the Third World or illegal aliens, diseases are surely coming across the border with them. And as many infected illegals travel to crowded American sanctuary cities, the chance for diseases to spread into our population grows dramatically.
Consider that some of our cities are no cleaner than what you find in Third World countries.
Los Angeles has mountains of garbage on the streets, with rats, lice and an outbreak of Typhus. San Francisco’s streets are covered with human feces, which will no longer be washed away by the winter rains now that summer is approaching. That’s a scenario for a medical disaster. Seattle is mimicking Los Angeles, and has an outbreak of the disease that infected one fifth of the British troops in WWI.
What is frustrating is that the knowledge of the existence and serious dangers of drug-resistant bacteria has been known for over four decades, and little, if any, effort has been made to try to change the irresponsible use of antibiotics through education or legislation.
To convince younger people of the need for secure borders, and knowing that many get their history nowadays not from books, but from movies, I refer them to the Godfather: Part II, where the young Vito Andolini comes to America near the turn of the twentieth century. His ship passes the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, and then he is accidentally re-named Vito Corleone by the immigration inspector. He is then given a medical examination and found to have smallpox, and was put into quarantine.
As it is our first defense against infectious diseases, some of which are fatal, securing our border is absolutely vital to protecting our national health.
And let’s make that sooner, rather than later.
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. [Winston Churchill.]
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