WHO claims that as many as 20 million people will die within 20 – 25 years every year because of infections and resistant bacteria. Penicillin and different antibiotics simply will not work anymore. Medicins Sans Frontier claims, that 700, 000 people die every year because antibiotics is not working any more.
The problem seems to be worldwide. And we have to start to fight against it NOW.
In Denmark we have a very large production of pork. The small country with 5 million people, raise about 25 million pigs every year. No other country has as many pigs per capita in the world, and Denmark has the most intensive concentration of pigs in the world. Also 60 percent of our land is farmed. Another world record!
All these pigs are raised in pig farms or industrial ‘pig-factories’, and to keep the pigs healthy, the pig farmers use a lot of antibiotics. Also zinc and copper are used in animal feed. This will create antibiotic resistant bacteria. 10 years ago no pigs in Denmark would carry MRSACC398- staphylococcus. Today almost 90 percent of all pig farms have the dangerous and antibiotic resistant bacteria. Even the pig farms for breeding has it. And the pig farmers seem to do nothing about it. Most workers in the pig farms carry this bacteria. Danish farmers use 120 tons antibiotics every year – 90 ton in the pig industry alone. In Danish hospitals and healthcare we use only 55 tons.
The Danish government decided to follow up on MRSA – according to the EU-authorities, EFSA, but so far Denmark does not bring out data about MRSA to EU. We did agree to participate in this MRSA-program led by EFSA, but did nothing ever since 2009.
In Norway and Sweden they did something to get rid of this pig-bacteria. In these two countries very few pigs has MRSACC398.
In Danish hospitals the doctors are very afraid that they and the patients may be infected by MRSA. It´s very difficult to fight these infections – and it is very expensive. A MRSA-patient cost double up. Every year 400 people die from staphylococcus – but so far very few from MRSACC398 (the pig-MRSA).
Denmark should be able to do a lot more to fight these antibiotic resistant bacteria. Alexander Fleming would be turning in his grave if he knew about penicillin usage these days.
Holger Oster Mortensen is a Danish activist. He can be reached at email@example.com