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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Being ill now isn't just about one sickly kid, 15 May 2012
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This review is from: What's Killing Us: A Practical Guide to Understanding Our Biggest Global Health Problems (Kindle Edition)
I was a happy, healthy kid until I got to seven, and then I developed a cough that didn't seem to want to go away. TB was suspected, and I was kept off school it seemed for yonks. I didn't really feel ill. It was more that I was missing my friends, and wondering if I was actually going to die of this thing. Eventually the cough just went away, I was given the all-clear, and I returned to school, albeit with a reputation that whenever I sneezed, my mother kept me off school.

Well, that was all a long time ago. I and my classmates were lucky that we didn't fall victim to TB, which is cited in this book as being our biggest global pandemic. It's also a staggering notion that one out of every three of us is infected with the TB bacteria.

Unlike the author, I am not a scientist. But like the author, my views are subjective. And I learnt a lot from this book. Things like many of the more common antibiotics were developed during the eighties. I already knew that they have saved countless lives. What I didn't know is that if nothing changes, i.e. if pharmaceutical companies continue to ignore further development of antibiotics because they don't make them enough money, then we have ten years - yes, 10 years of complacency - and then it's back to the thirties. And it's all the fault of a gene called NDM-1 which evidently makes bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics. This isn't even the twisted plot to some sci-fi movie: if patients fail to complete a course of antibiotics then the remaining bacteria can evolve, become drug immune, and here's the really scary bit: even share genes with each other.
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