Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

New report on drug resistance highlights the tragedy of our antibiotics commons

Posted 02 Oct 2015 / 0

National Geographic Germination blog “Antibiotic Resistance Getting Worse Globally, But Fixes Could Be Simple

Antibiotic resistance is an interesting problem because it highlights how individual decisions drive international-scale dynamics and then come right back to impact individuals. Unlike other big international tragedies of the commons such as climate change or fisheries collapse, the effects of antibiotic resistance are primarily on individuals unlucky enough to acquire an infection caused by resistant bacteria. But as this new report shows, the only scale at which to contend with antibiotic resistance is international: all countries need to set up protocols for how antibiotics are used in order to maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics that we all wish to enjoy. It is scary that in many countries antibiotics can be purchased easily, used off label or without cause, or fed “prophylactically” to livestock. Without international agreement to curb unnecessary antibiotic use, future generations will not enjoy the safe health and security that antibiotics has afforded to the last few human generations.

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Coevolution, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Resistance Evolution in Parasites, Social Norms, Web

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