Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria

Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria is a documentary from Frontline that investigates the alarming rise of untreatable infections in hospitals and communities across the globe.  This is a well-done episode investigating the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria around the world, with focus on several particular cases as examples.  Frontline reporter David Hoffman investigates the disturbing resilience of bacteria causing this rise of untreatable infections, speaking with health officials, hospital administrators, and families.  We learn that antibiotic resistant bacteria are increasing dramatically throughout the world.  Multiple causes of these Gram Negative bacteria are identified, as are indications that the problem will persist as long as we continue to use antibiotics as we do currently.  A very good documentary that shows how antibiotics are no longer the answer for bacterial infections.  It is really scary that one day we may no longer have treatment for infections we get.  Also, in the United States, the use of antibiotics in livestock is still prevalent.  I think people should be aware that they are inadvertently exposed to antibiotics through the food we eat, especially meat from animals that have been treated with antibiotics and hormones.  The FDA reports that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in 2009 were administered to livestock animals, and that many of these antibiotics are identical or closely related to drugs used for treating illnesses in humans.  Consequently, many of these drugs are losing their effectiveness on humans.  The total healthcare costs associated with drug-resistant bacterial infections in the United States are between $16 billion to $26 billion annually.  Another important message of this program is the lack of new antibiotic drug development.  The director also points an accusatory finger in the direction of the drug companies, revealing the real reasons behind their withdrawal from the antibiotic industry — money.  This leaves you to wonder what will happen if one day there is an epidemic of drug-resistant infections that becomes truly uncontrollable?  I recommend this!  Definitely worth watching.  Documentary Frontline October 22, 2013 TV-PG 53m.

For the other aspect of the problems with antibiotics
Watch the following Frontline reports on:

UCLA Superbug Infection

Documentary Frontline February 19, 2015.  UCLA Superbug Infection Linked to 2 Deaths; 179 Potentially Infected.

The Trouble with Antibiotics

Documentary Frontline October 14, 2014, by David Hoffman.  Featured from this report:  How Congress Has Tried to Regulate Antibiotic Use in Animals.  What is the FDA Doing About the Problem?

Superbugs Killing Thousands of Newborns in India

Documentary Frontline December 4, 2014, by Tim Molloy.  A new study says 58,000 Indian infants died last year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Senators Ask FDA to Track Antibiotic Use on Farms

Documentary Frontline November 13, 2014, by Tim Molloy.  The request comes after Frontline investigated whether the widespread use of antibiotics on farms helps create infections that kill 20,000 people each year.

How It’s Different in Europe

Documentary Frontline October 14, 2014, by Emma Schwartz.  In 2006, the E.U. banned certain kinds of antibiotic uses on the farm. But critics say there’s no evidence that the restrictions have led to a decrease in drug-resistant infections in humans.

Inside an Early Attempt to Restrict Antibiotic Use on Farms

Documentary Frontline October 14, 2014, by Emma Schwartz.  In 1977, then FDA Commissioner Donald Kennedy tried — and failed — to tackle the problem.

Can E. Coli in Supermarket Meat Cause UTIs?

Documentary Frontline October 14, 2014, by Tim Molloy.  There’s been an increase in stubbornly hard-to-treat urinary tract infections, and Dr. Lance Price is testing to see whether supermarket meat may be the cause.

Sharp Increase in Sales of Antibiotics for Use in Farm Animals

Documentary Frontline October 2, 2014, by David Hoffman and Emma Schwartz.  The new data from the FDA comes amid concerns that their use is contributing to increasing drug-resistant infections in humans.

White House Releases Plan to Fight Antibiotic Resistance

Documentary Frontline September 19, 2014, by David Hoffman and Emma Schwartz.  Last year, the CDC estimated that 23,000 people die annually in the U.S. and more than 2 million are sickened by resistant infections.

A Superbug Outbreak at NIH

Documentary Frontline October 22, 2013, by Bill Rockwood and Sarah Childress.  How one of the nation’s most prestigious research hospitals struggled to contain a deadly drug-resistant bacteria.


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