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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
www.terryjallen.com

1 Comments:

Anonymous Marcie Hascall Clark said...

Thanks for posting this and bringing attention to the AB from Iraq problem.
Shockingly, after proving to themselves that they were the cause of the spread of this bug, the Pentagon is now pushing a misinformation campaign to cover this fact up.
I caught an interview on CNN the other night and another the next morning. The Pentagon is now claiming that the Iraqi's are smearing animal feces and chemicals on the bombs so that they blast into the wounds and cause the wounds not to heal.
The transcripts are at http://leishmaniasis.us/Acinetobacter.html just under the header.

4:56 PM  

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