Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Superbugs in Iraq (and Walter Reed)
Wow, did Wired magazine have an unexpected scoop in the February issue! Steve Silberman tells us of the arrival of a superbug, Acinetobacter baumanii, among wounded soldiers in Iraq, and in evacuated soldiers taken to many Army field hospitals. This little sucker sounds worse than MRSA. Silberman wisely points to two distinct problems giving rise to AB: the universal danger of superbugs, immune to most antibiotics, which has few resolutions; and the logistical problem of the Combat Support Hospital, one of the many unpleasant and unforeseen side effects of Donald Rumsfeld's "revolution in military affairs," based on a leaner, meaner Army. Hey, we could spend all our time worrying about MRSA or AB or avian flu, and some concerns may be overblown, but the fact remains: there will be pandemics in our future which our technology can't sidestep, and some may be based on our ill-considered occupation of foreign nations.