“We live in the Age of Bacteria (as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, until the world ends) …” said Stephen Jay Gould.
“In 1850, one in four American babies died before his or her first birthday. Lethal epidemics swept through crowded cities, as people were packed into dark, dirty rooms with fetid air and no running water. Familiar scourges included cholera, pneumonia, scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis, and smallpox.” (p.1)
I was born in 1935 and most of those diseases were still household words, but they were not so common as in 1850. All the same, before 1940 I had had serious encounters with scarlet fever and whooping cough, both of which were still 20% lethal before antibiotics. My father had had diphtheria, and the reason he was born in Spokane, Washington, was that his father’s family was there because they had fled their farm in Bonegap, Illinois, where cholera had just killed his grandfather. My mother’s mother had smallpox while in Idaho, but survived to serve as my caretaker several times for months during the displacements during WWII. We always lived in better conditions than mentioned in the paragraph above, but we had those diseases all the same.
Those diseases have been controlled for six decades with antibiotics, but the diseases are evolving to live in this new antibiotic-filled environment, and we humans are not. Quite the opposite; Doctor Blaser demonstrates why the biome of living bacteria is what keeps us alive, and we would die within days without the three pounds of bacteria living inside of us. Almost all of these bacteria are helping us through life from the moment of our birth. It’s only when a bad bacteria somehow establishes itself and defeats our good bacteria that we suffer. We are a battleground for thousands of species of microbes to wrestle and form balances of power, and the normal condition in our bodies, particularly in our guts, is a complex balance of power created by a billion years of constant struggle.
Insert penicillin, the first antibiotic, into this ongoing struggle in the early 1940s, which had the ability to kill some bad viruses and at just the right dose not kill the good viruses. Only by experience with living people could the right dose be discovered, that would kill the bad virus that was making some particular person sick, and not kill the good ones that were helping them live. Early on this wasn’t too much of a problem because there were plenty of healthy good viruses around, but there have been seventy years of application of antibiotics to sick people and sick animals, and now even to perfectly healthy animals because they grow bigger and fatter. The farmers sell their animals by the pound, so if a few dollars worth of antibiotics will gain a farmer a hundred dollars worth of beef he has a terrific pressure to use these drugs.
So what happened? The young children were given antibiotics when they were sick, and grew up healthier and fatter, and their children grew up even healthier and fatter, etc., but these new people are also susceptible to many new developmental disease processes like diabetes or allergies. And with our modern disease organisms being so resistant to antibiotics, it requires massive amounts of more potent antibiotics to kill them. With nearly all of the thousands of natural intestinal viruses dead and gone, it is only natural that some can reestablish themselves more quickly, and so Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a fast growing bacterium, takes over and prevents the others from reestablishing a healthy intestinal community. The reason I read this book, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plaguesby Martin J. Blaser was because it was recommended to me by Nicolae Morar. Debbie told me to go to his lecture because of my post of the previous month, C. difficile shit and spit treatment is what works.
It becomes obvious that we humans need to add a biological poop bank of all of the animals of the world installed at The Earth Ark, at the Argus Dome atop Antarctica.