While many of us are supporters of the , we are unquestionably against their loser cousin, the bug. From invisible germs that eat your flesh to swarms of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, bugs are the latest group of organisms asserting their place at the top of the food chain. These tiny monsters range from nuisance to threat; the most dangerous often being the ones you can’t see. Global travel and climate change are two phenomena contributing to the spread of bugs into new regions, while advances in biology are helping us understand the teeming millions within our own guts. As tools emerge to ward them off (and the disease they spread), people are beginning to fear the creation of a “superbug” incapable of being stopped.
“They are coming. There is no doubt that they are coming. What we don’t know is when they will come and how many there will be. The last outstanding question is: Are we prepared? From a public health standpoint, that is, and from the standpoint of dealing with seriously annoying things. Because mosquitoes are both a major health hazard and about the most irritating creatures known to man” (New York Magazine).
“Although the plague is typically considered a remnant of the Middle Ages, when unsanitary conditions and rodent infestations prevailed amid the squalor of poverty, this rare but deadly disease appears to be spreading through wealthier communities in New Mexico, researchers report… Plague is caused by fast-moving bacteria, known as Yersinia pestis, that is spread through flea bites or the air” (HealthDay News).
“The Infectious Diseases Society of America, an organization of doctors and scientists, has been bellowing alarms. It fears that we could slip back to a world in which we’re defenseless against bacterial diseases… There’s broad agreement that doctors themselves overprescribe antibiotics — but also that a big part of the problem is factory farms. They feed low doses of antibiotics to hogs, cattle and poultry to make them grow faster” (New York Times).
How can we create a feeling a safety without compromising our environments in the long term?