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Houston Matters

How Prepared Are We For An Antibiotic-Resistant Future?

Could an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Colombia be a harbinger of things to come here in the U.S.? Houston Matters asks a local researcher.



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On March 14, 1942 — 76 years ago today — Orvan Hess and John Bumstead were credited with saving the first human life using penicillin. The wonder drugs of their time, penicillin antibiotics were among the first medications to effectively treat bacterial infections that, prior to their development, were often deadly — such as staph infections and even strep throat.

While still in wide use today, more and more bacteria are proving resistant to penicillin and many other antibiotics. Are we ready for a day when antibiotics will no longer be effective — and what do we do then?

Colombia is currently dealing with an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, one that Dr. Cesar Arias of the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth has been following.

In the audio above, Houston Matters host Craig Cohen talks with Dr. Arias about the situation there, the history of antibiotic use, and what's in store for the future.