Antibiotics are ubiquitous in modern human life. Along with their well-known medical applications, they also are routinely used in agriculture, including our increasingly industrial production of meat.
But as resistant strains of bacteria continue to emerge, health authorities around the world are growing alarmed at the increasing impotence of antibiotics to fight disease. In fact, they worry we are on the verge of a total breakdown in the overall usefulness of these drugs. It’s a scenario of horrifying scope to those who understand the implications for human health.
Journalist and author Maryn McKenna has covered this looming disaster for magazines and websites like Wired, Scientific American, Medium, Slate, Modern Farmer, Nature, The Atlantic, and The Guardian. She is the author of "SUPERBUG: The Fatal Menace of MRSA and BEATING BACK THE DEVIL: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service."
McKenna is currently writing a book about the entwined histories of antibiotic development and agriculture for National Geographic. Links to much of her work can be found at her website.
Maryn McKenna is a senior fellow of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, and a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at MIT. She teaches science writing in the United States and Asia.
Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio