- Hardcover: 264 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1 edition (September 22, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591027500
- ISBN-13: 978-1591027508
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rising Plague: The Global Threat from Deadly Bacteria and Our Dwindling Arsenal to Fight Them 1st Edition
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As seen on The Doctors, PBS Frontline, and Katie!
"Clear and concise, with a good mix of dramatic (and, at times, tragic) examples and hard statistics.... The book ends with an admonition to take the threat of drug-resistant bacteria seriously; when you’ve finished reading, you’ll find it impossible to disagree.”
-San Francisco Book Review
“This readable, well-written volume will resonate with a diverse audience, It provides an excellent review of the problems associated with antibiotic resistance, explains the causes, and recommends solutions to encourage discovery and development of new antibiotics. Highly recommended.”
"Avoiding medical jargon, this fast-paced call to action should be read by anyone concerned about our medical future. Highly recommended.”
About the Author
Brad Spellberg, MD (Los Angeles, CA) is associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is based in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He was featured on an Emmy award-winning episode of NOVA called "Rise of the Superbugs." He is the author (with Carlos Ayala, MD) of the popular Boards and Wards series of medical review books.
Top Customer Reviews
Antibiotic resistance follows inevitably from antibiotic use. Every time a new antibiotic appears, billions of bacteria take on the evolutionary problem of dealing with it. Sooner or later, somewhere, one does - and that's all it takes. That one's progeny thrive in the presence of that drug, to the exclusion of all others. Spellberg omits, almost completely, a technical point that makes the problem even worse, though. "Horizontal gene transfer" means that one bacterium can pass its resistance on to others, not just its descendants, and not just within its bacterial species. In particular, one resistant bug can pass resistance on to a bug already resistant to something else, creating a superbug with multi-drug resistance. In rare cases, some pathogen resists all known medications. That's when the infectious disease specialist has to say something that hasn't been said since the dawn of the antibiotic era, "We've tried everything. There is nothing left to try."
Acquired resistance is not just a problem. It must be considered a basic fact of life. All the best policy in the world regarding hand-washing, infection control, and the rest can not change that fact. Instead, the problem must be addressed on the human side, by coming up with new drugs and new ways of using them.Read more ›
But Spellberg is at the same time hopeful that we can turn things around, and I think his book will be that alarm bell calling attention to this problem. What's more, his moving descriptions of those helped by antibiotics throughout the years, such as the four-year-old girl near death from a staph infection (with photos of her before and after the infection), remind all of us not to be complacent about the future.
I had the privilege of hearing a compelling talk he gave at the Center for Inquiry-L.A. about his book, and readers interested in understanding how antibiotics work on bacteria, which are examples of how fast evolution works, and how to combat this rising plague should not miss this book.
But the important subject of antibiotic use in animals is discussed in just two sentences. In fact, 70% of antibiotics are given to livestock, poultry, fish, shellfish, and pets. He doesn't mention that excrement contains active antibiotics. Plants absorb active antibiotics when the soil is treated with manure. Antibiotics are accumulating in groundwater. Every day, we are receiving small doses of active antibiotics in our water, milk, meat, vegetables, fruit. Some antibiotic molecules are remarkably stable, and can remain active even after being cooked at 273 degrees Fahrenheit. He does not mention these issues.
This daily low-dose exposure certainly hastens the development of drug-resistant microbes. Antibiotics make animals grow faster and larger, so they are very popular among producers of industrial meat. Eliminating or sharply reducing antibiotic use on animals is not mentioned in the book. The meat industry has vast political power. If we ignore the animal issue, then it makes no sense to spend billions to develop new antibiotics.
Spellberg devotes a single paragraph to the notion that, in the world of antibiotic research, the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. Developing new antibiotics is going to be far more difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. We'll have to discover new, radically different bug-killing paradigms, according to Dr. Alfonso J.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great explanation of the current situation in antibiotic stagnation, providing a generally good survey of the problems and challenges of bureaucracy, government... Read morePublished 10 months ago by David C. Delany
Clear, concise and thorough presentation of a very important and under-reported topicPublished 11 months ago by John Lowery
Spellberg provides a cogent thoughtful summary of resistant infections and the need for immediate developmental efforts to discover, design and test new antibiotics to combat the... Read morePublished on June 16, 2014 by JWH13
I'm a reporter and I was working on a series about antibiotic resistance. This book provided me with a wealth of information I was able to use in my story. Read morePublished on May 30, 2014 by Caroline Balchunas
As the head an infection control company with 800+ reps, this was the most useful training tool I have found for myself and team. Read morePublished on February 5, 2014 by Brad B
Amazing book, I wish he woud have spoke a bit about things like sida, cryptolepis, got away a tad from reduction science, the reason I say that is because the garbage big-pharma... Read morePublished on January 18, 2014 by ken cummings
Lucid, well-written and argued. Language sufficiently simplified for a non-medical reader. In addition to explicating a position on this issue, the book also contains an excellent... Read morePublished on January 10, 2014 by Patrick Tyler
I don't want to seem petty, but the overtones about global warming didn't ( I feel ) belong. The second half was about the politics involved. Read morePublished on December 15, 2013 by Wayne Stan