Thursday, September 16, 2010


As Jesus described the signs of the last generation - one of these signs was pestilences: "...and pestilences in various places." (Luke 21:11)

Indeed that has been the case as we have observed more and more diseases which are resistant to antibiotics, the growth of HIV/AIDS, ebola, drug resistant TB, malaria, SARS, and more recently swine flu, just to name a few recent concerns. This week there is more:

"New drug-resistant superbug found in 3 states"

An infectious-disease nightmare is unfolding: A new gene that can turn many types of bacteria into superbugs resistant to nearly all antibiotics has sickened people in three states and is popping up all over the world, health officials reported Monday.

The U.S. cases and two others in Canada all involve people who had recently received medical care in India, where the problem is widespread. A British medical journal revealed the risk last month in an article describing dozens of cases in Britain in people who had gone to India for medical procedures.

How many deaths the gene may have caused is unknown; there is no central tracking of such cases. So far, the gene has mostly been found in bacteria that cause gut or urinary infections.

Scientists have long feared this — a very adaptable gene that hitches onto many types of common germs and confers broad drug resistance.

"It's a great concern," because drug resistance has been rising and few new antibiotics are in development, said Dr. M. Lindsay Grayson, director of infectious diseases at the University of Melbourne in Australia. "It's just a matter of time" until the gene spreads more widely person-to-person, he said.

Lab tests showed their germs were not killed by the types of drugs normally used to treat drug-resistant infections, including "the last-resort class of antibiotics that physicians go to," Limbago said.

Now we see an entirely new concern, this one coming from the US, as warned by Australia:

"Australia warning over deadly US whooping cough outbreak"

Australia Thursday warned travellers to the United States to watch out for a whooping cough outbreak which has claimed the lives of several babies.

The foreign affairs department said a number of American states had been hit by the disease including California, where local reports say nine babies have died.

"Several US states have reported an increase in cases and/or localised outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough), including a state-wide epidemic in California," the travel advice says.

The department maintained its overall advice at "exercise caution", the second of a five-level warning system.

A report on the Los Angeles Times website posted on Tuesday said a ninth baby had died from whooping cough, making it the deadliest outbreak in California in five years.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection affecting the lungs which is usually relatively mild in adults but has a high mortality rate among children.

Warnings are also coming from the CDC on a variety of drug resistant scenarios:

"Drug Resistance"

Drug Resistance Is Everywhere

Antimicrobial drug resistance occurs everywhere in the world and is not limited to industrialized nations. Hospitals and other healthcare settings are battling drug-resistant organisms that spread inside these institutions. Drug-resistant infections also spread in the community at large. Examples include drug-resistant pneumonias, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and skin and soft tissue infections.

Trends in Drug Resistance

- Reports of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infections—in persons with no links to healthcare systems have been observed with increasing frequency in the United States and elsewhere around the globe.

- Multi-drug resistant Klebsiella species and Escherichia coli have been isolated in hospitals throughout the United States.

- Antimicrobial resistance is emerging among some fungi, particularly those fungi that cause infections in transplant patients with weakened immune systems.

- Antimicrobial resistance has also been noted with some of the drugs used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections and influenza.

- The development of antimicrobial resistance to the drugs used to treat malaria infections has been a continuing problem in many parts of the world for decades. Antimicrobial resistance has developed to a variety of other parasites that cause infection.

Also from the CDC:

"Diseases/Pathogens Associated with Antimicrobial Resistance"

A growing number of disease-causing organisms, also known as pathogens, are resistant to one or more antimicrobial drugs. A wide range of pathogens—including the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, the viruses that causes influenza, the parasites that cause malaria, and the fungi that cause yeast infections—are becoming resistant to the antimicrobial agents used for treatment. This page contains links to further information about some of the organisms and diseases associated with antimicrobial resistance.

This article is worth reading. Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern world-wide. Almost everyone is aware of the threat of MRSA - as it seems to have struck almost every community, and in these cases deaths have resulted from seemingly minor cuts or abrasions. But MRSA is only one of many such concerns.

Pestilences are continuing to make medical news, and it seems that every few months a new threat emerges.

There was a period of time, during the 1970s and into the 1980's that optimism prevailed as new antibiotics and research into anti-viral treatments seemed so promising, and as a result medical practice could safely control infectious disease. That optimism has diminished significantly as the mutated diseases and antibiotic resistance has become the focus and the pestilences appear to be winning the battle in this new century.

We shouldn't be surprised - biblical prophecy informed us of this era. As with most of the signs that we observe, this too will continue to increase in frequency and severity, right into and during the period known as the Tribulation:

"They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague..." (Revelation 6:8)

This is just the beginning.

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