Thursday, April 07, 2005

Evolutionary medicine...

So this is scary...

Risky staph infections emerge outside wards
(link fixed for bogus login)
Dangerous drug-resistant staph infections are increasingly showing up outside hospitals -- including among inmates, children and athletes, alarmed researchers find.

Dangerous drug-resistant staph infections are showing up at an alarming rate outside of hospitals and nursing homes in the United States.

New research found that in one part of the country, as many as one in five infections were picked up out in the community.

Until recently, these hard-to-treat cases were seen only in hospitals and other healthcare settings where they can spread to patients with open wounds or tubes and cause serious complications. Now doctors are seeing resistant strains among inmates, children and athletes.

In the past 50 years, treatment for staph has had to change four or five times due to strains evolving complete and total resistance to treatment. Staph is one of the best examples of how penicillin simply is not the panacea for infection. Penicillin stopped working on staph before I was born...

Hospitals become giant staph laboratories, where in this case the human beings are the specimans and the experimenters are the staph. The most resistant strains show up in hospitals.

This is exactly why doctors are very hesitant to treat someone with staph (well, and with other things too) with a very strong antibiotic unless it is absolutely necessary. Sure, that antibiotic might cure all of the infection, but there is a finite probability that there is going to be some variation of the agent causing the infection that is going to be resistant, and exposure to the treatment will kill off all of its competition and it will THRIVE. Treating someone can end up just growing even more dangerous strains inside a person.

[ Note that examples like these are EXACTLY the thing that convinced some creationists to become intelligent design "theorists." They could not deny that natural selection described this phenomena PERFECTLY, but they were not willing to accept that natural selection could act at higher more complex levels... ]

Well, these dangerous strains are finding their way outside of hospitals. That's a scary thought. Sorry, I mean, that's a scary reality.

You know what's even scarier? People want to teach creationism and intelligent design in elementary schools (and at higher levels?). Not only do people have an apathy for the fact that there simply are no science role models accessible to children, but people don't think it's important that their children be taught science and its methods. They'd rather their children be taught "fair and balanced" myth. So their kids grow up to become football players with sub-2-point GPA's and share towels with other such alpha-male apes, and they get staph, and there's no one around who has any idea about how to treat them. Fiction?

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