Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Surfaces in South Africa

A new strain of tuberculosis has been discovered in South Africa. It seems that it is resistant to all known forms of drugs.

This is bad news. However, I haven't seen the media reporting on an important facet of the story.

Why? That's the question.

Why did we get this new strain of tuberculosis? To my understanding, these new strains have a predictable trigger. They come into being because we are overusing antibiotics. When we are buying anti-bacterial soap to wash our hands, we are unnecessarily using an anti-bacterial product (scientists agree that the extra ingredient, triclosan, adds NO protection) and we're creating more exposure for these new strains to be created.

I'm not saying South Africans in particular are using too much anti-bacterial soap, but all of us are too cavalier about taking antibiotics for every little infection or perceived problem. Then when the new strain comes along, we wonder "How could this have happened?"

For myself, I stay away from anti-bacterial anything. I wash my hands often, and use cleaners, like Miracle II, that don't contain these substances. Miracle II has anti-viral properties without creating a haven for new strains of infectious diseases like TB.

Please, media. We want to know the WHY.

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