Dominick M. Connecticut

Super Bugs

Bacteria are becoming resistant to all of our antibiotics, and action needs to be taken before this issue grows out of hand.

Dear Future President of the United States,

I am a Dominick McConnell, high school student from Westport Connecticut, and I would like to bring to your attention a growing issue within our country and the entire world, superbugs. Our amazing weapon against bacteria which has saved countless lives, Antibiotics, are becoming useless. This is because bacteria called superbugs are developing resistances to them. One dose of antibiotics only kills off bacteria that are not resistant to the drug. If that dose isn’t followed by another within a certain timeframe, the resistant bacteria aren’t killed and are able to breed, forming even more resistant bacteria. This makes people who turn to antibiotics for minor illnesses or farms where antibiotics are used to promote animal growth ideal breeding grounds for superbugs. Some superbugs have already advanced to the level that infections caused by them are nearly untreatable because they are resistant to all of our commonly used antibiotics. In order to treat those infections, other antibiotics that are not used often due to their negative side effects must be used, but superbugs are starting to build resistance to those too. Superbugs are a large and growing issue, and action needs to be taken to stop them before it’s too late.

Superbugs are a large issue in the United States, and the use of antibiotics on farms is largely contributing to the development of superbugs. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.” Something that causes 23,000 deaths a year is a major issue, and it definitely deserves more attention than it’s been given. If the United States continues to operate without putting effort into stopping superbugs, the number of deaths each year will only increase as bacteria become immune to all of our antibiotics. Eventually, we may come close to reaching pre-antibiotic mortality rates. There is one leading cause of the creation superbugs, being the use of antibiotics on farms. According to an issue brief on Human Health and Industrial Farming by pew trusts, “Up to 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to food animals, often non-therapeutically to promote growth and to compensate for the effects of unsanitary and overcrowded conditions.” Antibiotics are supposed to be given in precise doses to to treat specific infections, not given on a daily basis to farm animals. When bacteria are exposed to so much antibiotics, it creates an ideal breeding ground for resistant strains. All the non-resistant bacteria are killed off, but the resistant strains can thrive in the unsanitary conditions of the overpopulated farms. If farms stopped using antibiotics on animals, it would drastically decrease the rate that superbugs are developing resistances to our antibiotics. This would lower the death rate because it would allow scientists to create new antibiotics faster than bacteria are becoming immune to them, so there would no longer be untreatable patients. Actions needs to be taken against the growing issue of superbugs in our country, and one major step in the right direction would be to stop or limit farms from using antibiotics.

Hillary Clinton, you should realise the devastating impacts an untreatable sickness can have on a person. Last month, you were diagnosed with pneumonia, and had to leave early from the 9/11 memorial ceremony. In a letter your physician, Lisa Bardack wrote, it said you were on an antibiotic called Levaquin. It also said you are “recovering well with antibiotics and rest”, and continue to “remain healthy and fit to serve as President of the United States.” Had you been diagnosed with a strain of bacteria immune to Levaquin, which is a strong antibiotic, it would have taken you longer to recover. This could have taken you out of the presidential race. You know firsthand how negative an impact illnesses can have on you, and how the illness would be much worse if it is untreatable.

Donald Trump, you know what it is like to lose a close person to a sickness because your father died of pneumonia. There are currently people in the United States losing their family because they have been infected with the nearly untreatable superbugs. You should support taking action against superbugs so that less people will die to illnesses.

Superbugs are a large and growing issue that needs more attention. 2,000,000 cases and 23,000 deaths a year is too large an issue to be overlooked. In order to greatly stop the rate superbugs are progressing, the use of antibiotics on farms should be limited or stopped. Farms are too ideal of a place for bacteria to develop immunities to antibiotics because nonresistant strains are killed while resistant strains thrive in the overpopulated and unsanitary conditions. Stopping or limiting the use of antibiotics on farms would allow the production of new antibiotics to catch up to the rate in which bacteria are becoming immune. Hillary, you know how prolonged illnesses can ruin plans and dreams, and Trump, you know what it is like to lose family to illnesses. Actions must be taken against superbugs, or the issue will continue to grow until antibiotics become completely useless.

Thank you,

Dominick McConnell.

Staples High School


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