According to this article at Treehugger, antibiotic-resistant bacteria (such as MRSA and CRE) are responsible for more deaths each year than AIDS, in the US at least. It’s a problem that is only expected to get worse in the coming years. Not helping matters is the large extent to which antibiotics are used in animal agriculture – it’s estimated that around 80% of antibiotic use (in the US) is for that. The more we use antibiotics, the faster bacteria will evolve to resist them…there’s no escaping that fundamental fact of evolution.
Government officials at the CDC have recently warned against the emerging threat posed by these ‘superbugs’ as well. It’s not clear there’s any solution in sight though. We can slow the spread of these by better sanitation and reduced use of antibiotics, but it’ll continue to be a growing problem for future generations to deal with. 🙁