World War You

by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, Ph.D.

WWY2The 20th century began a period of notable public health improvements in which average life expectancy increased from just under 49 years to nearly 79 years today (1, 2).  A combination of factors including vaccines, improved living conditions and antimicrobial drug therapies decreased the threat of early death from many infectious diseases (3).  Today death is often the long term consequence of chronic conditions such as heart (cardiovascular system) disease, cancer and diabetes.

Antibiotics vanquished a number of bacterial diseases and for a while they certainly looked like miracle cures.  However, while battles with infectious diseases were being won, a sign of serious trouble, drug resistance, emerged quickly.  For a while steady development of new antibiotics enabled physicians to keep pace.  Eventually, rising tides of resistance forced the medical community to acknowledge the miracle of antibiotic resistance might be squandered…

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