Superbugs. Resistant strains of ordinary bacteria. No longer susceptible to the antibiotics we've come to rely on for decades. Scary stuff.
Over-prescription and misuse of antibiotics have been in the news for some time, but a new problem is brought to the forefront in this Frontline documentary.
It turns out that most of the antibiotics used in the US are fed to animals as part of their daily ration. Livestock raised in huge factory-style enclosures are sensitive to infections of all types. Adding antibiotics to their food causes them to grow faster and healthier - allowing producers to maximize profits.
This use of antibiotics also, unfortunately, places a major selective pressure into nature; a selective pressure favoring the evolution of microbes that are very difficult to kill or even to control.
It's a complicated issue. Use this organizer to help your students clarify the complex overlapping ideas in The Trouble with Antibiotics.