Last week, I was asked to write an opinion article for the Toronto Star in the light of the continuing problems of antibiotic resistance and the fact that we may be moving towards the post-antibiotic era.
You can read the post, entitled: Goodbye, Antibiotics.
I have to say that it was one of the hardest text to write in quite some time.
As a microbiologist and promoter of health and hygiene strategies, the last thing I want to do is put anything that may benefit our health in a negative light. Yet, the reality is that regardless of the benefit that has come in the past and also continues for the most part into our present, the future is looking rather dim.
What hurts even more is that it’s always been known.
I did quite an extensive amount of reading and research for the article going back as far as the mid 1940s to get a better understanding of the onset of antibiotic resistance and how it grew, apparently unnoticed. The calls for stewardship and control of use were present right from the start. From the clinics in France to the World Health Organization, the warnings were given and yet, each and every time it seems, they went unheeded.
Why? That’s for the historians to decide. What matters more is that the world needed a wake up call to see the truth.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for almost 60 years.
Now that it has, first the in form of C. difficile strain NAP1/027 and now in the discovery of untreatable gonorrhea, the world has significantly less time to react to the growing tide of resistance and of public anger.
If you are reading this and you are angry that antibiotic resistance is around, let me know. I’d like to find out more about what angers people and also what, if anything, might be useful to help move into the future. The reason is that as we move towards a post-antibiotic era, perhaps it’s also time to work towards a new future of health. One in which people look first to themselves and their abilities rather than on a pill.
I also would like to know what would make you follow in a healthier lifestyle. I want you to share what inspires you to live healthy and what are the reasons for hygiene. Is there one phrase, one line, one word that describes what you believe when it comes to health?
And, perhaps more importantly, if all my work seems like a bunch of pollywog, let me know. After all, beliefs have detractors and I want to understand why people don’t believe in health and hygiene. And I know that some out there do. I want to know why.
I think it’s time to start on a different path towards a better quality of life. And perhaps with your help, I can find a model that will suit, a way to share that will engage and most of all, an outcome that we can all be proud to call our own.