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on 31 May 2017
This book proved to be a very interesting and enlightening read… It was very clear and informative without being full of technobabble so for the general public it doesn't go over one's head. It looks at why we should all be concerned about how antibiotics are used and how this may well lead to them eventually becoming ineffective in treating many diseases that they used to treat previously or are still able to treat at present. It touches on a lot of reasons for this e.g. the food industry giving antibiotics to animals in the food chain, antibiotics being prescribed by doctors like Smarties, patients requesting antibiotics for simple little things, patients being put on a course of antibiotics and not taking the complete course, antibiotics being watered down by some countries & the greed of pharmaceuticals who are more interested in watching their profit margins then carrying out research and development in this area…

We can do simple things for ourselves to try and help the situation which the author tells us about in her book like for example with regards to cleanliness and hygiene, after going to the toilet the author says:

"In order to kill off the bugs, all it takes is fifteen to twenty seconds of vigorous hand-washing with soap and water – this is about how long it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ twice through."

This book is well worth reading.
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on 12 August 2017
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on 27 April 2017
Fascinating book that could have been twice as long the subject matter is so intriguing. More people need to read it.
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on 28 June 2015
Fab little read!
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on 17 November 2013
Excellent book that explains why the difficulties arising out of bacterial resistance to antibiotics are so potentially worrying to all of us. We may be returning to the situation we had before antibiotics were available to us and that simple infections will no longer be so easy to deal with, but may become life-changing or life-threatening to us in the future. Rampant overprescribing and inappropriate prescribing of antibacterials for the treatment of viral infections for example are the cause, plus the lack of new innovations from the pharmaceutical industry - a fascinating read - well written without patronising the reader.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 September 2013
This is a Penguin Special, a deliberately slim book that gets across a single point with devastating effect. Sally Davies (I really can't call her 'Professor Dame' like the cover does - it makes her sound like a character from a pantomime) ought to know what she's talking about when it comes to antibiotics, as she is the Chief Medical Officer for England.

We start with a stark little story of life in the 2040s when all the antibiotics have failed and even what appears to be a harmless throat infection could result in isolation and death. Davies then takes us swiftly through the history of antibiotics and the various nasties we have to face up against.

In case it's not obvious by now, the theme is that our over-use of antibiotics is resulting in growing resistance building up in more and more diseases. At the same time, there really isn't a lot of work going into the next generation of drugs, as it isn't a hugely profitable thing for pharma companies to do.

Left with only the current facts we are presented with a dire situation, particularly for the next generations. However, Davies does come up with a range of possibilities for making things better, from the simplest aspects like washing our hands more effectively through to means to encourage production of the next generation of antibiotics. The trouble is, these positive bits seem to me to be primarily filled with the optimism of the scientific professional, rather than a reflection of the political reality. Specifically, I think unless we see Bill Gates and his equivalents pouring vast amounts into the research we won't get very far until things start going horribly wrong. For instance, the use of antibiotics in animal rearing should be clamped down on at draconian levels worldwide, but politicians have fudged it again and again.

But whether or not you take solace from the practical suggestions, and the rosier picture of the future the book finishes with, there is no doubt that this is a highly important message that, for a start, every MP and GP should be reading. And wash your hands. Right now.
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on 8 January 2014
This book should be part of every school's reading list in an effort to educate the population about the health problem associated with the growing menace of drug resistant antibiotics through over use, mis-use and lack of understanding how they work. Food for thought on what steps doctors and patients can do about it.
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on 23 December 2013
People need to be educated about the threat that lies ahead due to the poor misuse of antibiotics. Fascinating reading.
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on 25 November 2013
Excellent review of the problems that modern medicine faces for the future. Compares how much time and money may be spent on producing new drugs, and how few may actually be appropriate to use. Worrying trends for future use of antibiotics. Conventional medicine may be less able to treat future epidemics. Easy to read and a fairly short book written by the Chief Medical Officer.
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on 19 March 2014
A skinny book in the Penguin Specials genre which spells out a single message - but not exhaustively. The message is,"Germs" are becoming resistant to "antibiotics". Examples are given and some of the reasons why are explained.Basically these appear to be, biology, misuse and complacency.
The prose can be a bit turgid and the pace overwhelming. Content flows somewhat erratically between the technical specialisms and the mundane.
The structure would have benefited from a more thought through layout - diagrams, headings, bullet points, etc More of a PowerPoint presentation than a constant fast jog through a very varied and complex landscape. On occasions it's a bit like being trapped at the bar with a bloke who's a single issue fanatic. An index would have been useful.
Nevertheless it is a startling read. Some issues are depressingly simple in fact but fiendishly complex in practice. Multiple contributing circumstances provide such overwhelming variables that it's difficult not to despair.
There needs to be a parallel book on the potential effects of genetics and nano-technology to combat or at least restrain infection as this book appears to provide an overarching suggestion that ultimately "antibiotics" will always be - at the very least - on the back foot. the science works but is constantly undercut by greed, incompetence and plain stupidity.
This work by three eminent specialists is beyond doubt worth the reading as a primer covering a very scary situation. Other than providing generalist knowledge it does present portals through which anyone hitherto uninitiated can travel for more knowledge and understanding in depth.
My composite thought as I reached the final page was, we're in this problem together but we don't care all that much. In that respect the book succeeded.
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