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Modern medicine as we all know it, is about to come to an end. There are some potential future scenarios that are just too dreadful to contemplate; things that have the potential to change the world for ever. Some nightmare scenarios have the ability to touch us all personally. There is one such event, guaranteed to occur in the coming years, which will affect each and every single person in the world directly.
The end of antibiotics; the point when the effectiveness of antibiotics to resistant bacteria comes to an end. Many medical experts even go so far as to say that this will be the end of modern medicine as we know it and it will become a reality in the next decade, at the very latest.
At some indefinable point in the next few years, the effectiveness of antibiotics to infection is going to end. The impact this will have upon humanity is indescribable. It will not happen all of a sudden, but will at first be incremental.
It is happening right now. It will catch most completely by surprise until one day we all wake-up and people we know are dying of conditions once thought trivial. This one event will rock the Western world as much as any major war could and will have longer lasting repercussions.
The end of antibiotics is a world defining event of unimaginable importance and will push elements of health care, especially infection control, back to pre-industrial levels of civilization. Aspects of modern medicine will travel back in time to the year 1700.
The World Health Organization has warned that "...many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, could kill unabated." The U.S. Centers of Disease Control has pointed to the emergence of "nightmare bacteria." The chief medical officer for England, Prof. Dame Sally Davies has evoked parallels with the "apocalypse."
That this will happen is a one hundred percent certainty. This will definitely happen, there is no equivocation any more.
Colistin, an antibiotic usually thought of as a "last resort" is now failing as bacteria become widely resistant to it. This resistance has been found in both humans and animals. This means that bacteria like MRSA and other superbugs are going to become more common and more difficult to treat in the near future.
Today most MRSA or superbugs are confined to hospitals, soon they will be found in the community. Many will die because of this and there will simply be no available medical recourse for dealing with the infections these bacteria cause.
A post-antibiotic world will almost certainly mean the end of all forms of cancer treatment. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy, two of the most common treatments for cancers, both cause huge damage to patients' immune systems, our bodys own defenses against infection.
Dr. Luke Moore, a cancer specialist at Imperial College, London, sums the issue up succinctly, "At the moment we can fight those infections with antibiotics, until the immune system is working again, but the cupboard is getting barer. Its harder to find drugs that will fight those inevitable infections."
With the effectiveness of antibiotics severely limited, almost nobody would survive. Cancer treatment, as we know it, would shortly come to an end.
Lifesaving transplant operations will come to an end in a post-antibiotic environment for the same reasons that cancer treatments will. It simply will not be possible to suppress an individuals immune system to the point necessary to make transplants a viable process. Patients will die in the process of enabling the host body to accept the transplanted organ.
Routine surgery will become too dangerous to carry out. Invasive surgery, where a doctor or health professional opens up the skin was once the most dangerous medical treatment available because of the infection that inevitably followed. Surgery used to be seen as a last resort. In a post-antibiotic world having any kind of invasive operation will once again became a highly dangerous game of risk.
Terrifyingly, the effective end of antibiotics will result in a massive surge in deaths during childbirth. Both of my own young children and my wife would be dead today if it were not for the lifesaving medicines and antibiotics given post birth. For the entirety of human history, being pregnant was the single most dangerous time in any womens life. Appallingly, this will become the norm again, in a post antibiotic world.
The implications will even impact upon dentistry. How can you have a troublesome and painful tooth pulled if there are then no antibiotics afterwards to ensure no post op infections?
The fast approaching end of antibiotics will ripe from the hands of doctors one of their most powerful tools. A simple cut on the end of your finger could result in the end of your life and luck will determine your survival much more than a physicians skill or experience.
There are clear Biblical implications for this approaching antibiotic apocalypse. In Matthew 24, Jesus gives his disciples a break down summary of events indicating the end of the age. A part of that summary includes details related to an increase in famines and "pestilences."
Pestilences, also described as plagues or epidemics, will increase significantly as the end of the age approaches. This is exactly what is going to happen as the effectiveness of antibiotics comes to an end.
"...And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places (Matthew 24:7).
Throughout the twentieth century humanity has managed to steadily bring pestilences under control. This is about to be reversed. This very real specter of widespread disease epidemics becoming a reality is yet another indicator of our close proximity to the Tribulation period.
I used to believe that the Biblical pestilences described as occurring during the Tribulation period would be the likes of Ebola, Smallpox or some other equally horrific virus. The reality is they may well simply be a variant of the common cold run rampant.
Once again, the shadow cast by the Tribulation period falls over our own collective horizons. Time is short.