Terror from the farm.

Johns Hopkins University is unleashing a wave of… no, wait. It’s farms. Johns Hopkins is just warning about it. Farms, however, are unleashing a wave of antibiotic terror:

Kellogg Schwab, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Water and Health, refers to a typical pig farm manure lagoon that he sampled. “There were 10 million E. coli per liter [of sampled waste]. Ten million. And you have a hundred million liters in some of those pits. So you can have trillions of bacteria present, of which 89 percent are resistant to drugs. That’s a massive amount that in a rain event can contaminate the environment.”

He adds, “This development of drug resistance scares the hell out of me. If we continue on and we lose the ability to fight these microorganisms, a robust, healthy individual has a chance of dying, where before we would be able to prevent that death.” Schwab says that if he tried, he could not build a better incubator of resistant pathogens than a factory farm. He, Silbergeld, and others assert that the level of danger has yet to be widely acknowledged. Says Schwab, “It’s not appreciated until it’s your mother, or your son, or you trying to fight off an infection that will not go away because the last mechanism to fight it has been usurped by someone putting it into a pig or a chicken.”

I heard about this via the Buzzflash blog, which adds:

And don’t think your commitment to organics or vegetarianism will save you: Your exposure to these superbugs could depend on actions as innocuous as driving behind a truck bound for a Tyson slaughterhouse.

In fact, some studies cited in the Johns Hopkins article suggest that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — the staph infection that caused near apocalyptic warnings across the nation in the last couple of years — may come from the farm, not from the hospital as is widely believed.