Biodiversidade Biotecnologias Biossegurança

Este Blog foi originalmente criado para os eventos da COP-8 e MOP-3 realizados em março de 2005/Curitiba. Devido à importância de tais temas para a humanidade, a Revista Consciê continuará repassando informações relacionadas, incluindo comentários e matérias pertinentes. Boa leitura! Editores responsáveis: Clarissa Taguchi, Paula Batista e Gustavo Barreto. Da revista Consciência.Net -

quarta-feira, abril 11, 2007

Iraq's Superbugs: Our Collateral Damage

In These Times, April 5, 2007 - “Health & Science”
By Terry J. Allen

A new superbug—a rare strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—is infecting hundreds of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan vets. At first, the administration blamed the Acinetobacter baumannii outbreak on something in Iraq—the soil, the insurgents.

It soon emerged that wherever the bacteria’s origins, “the Pentagon had accidentally invented a machine for accelerating bacterial evolution and was airlifting the pathogens halfway around the world,” writes Steve Silberman in a brilliant article for Wired. Soldiers carried the superbug—loaded with the most genetic upgrades ever found in a single organism—from battlefield hospitals to Walter Reed and VA and civilian facilities across the United States.

While some U.S. medical efforts in Iraq were heroic, others, gave lie to "support our troops” rhetoric. At Ibn Sina Hospital in the Green Zone, the first stop for many wounded Americans, "rainwater dripped into operating rooms and supply closets, and pigeons roosted in the ventilation system," Silberman wrote. "Clean sheets and scrubs were scarce … because the civilian laundry contractor was apparently selling them on the black market."

Battlefield medicine, which relies on routinely dispensing multiple antibiotics in hopes that one will work, unwittingly promotes antibiotic resistance. As the March 2006 column, "Are Hospitals Hazardous to Your Health?," noted, hospitals, filled with weakened patients and open wounds, are breeding grounds for emerging superbugs. Now, collateral damage from Bush’s wars is riding home with the wounded and adding to that already dire threat.

Terry Allen
phone 802.229.0303
cell 212.691.1145