We were warned and our doctors were warned, but it only was a matter of time that reckless use of antibiotics would catch-up with us. Obviously there are many legitimate uses for antibiotics, but apparently it was one sore throat too many, or one unfinished prescription too many because the superbug is here.
The writing was on the wall, or at least your screen, with articles like this one from Reuters from 2009:
In a simple Internet search, investigators found 138 online vendors that sell antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription. More than one third supplied the drugs with no questions asked, while 64 percent made their own prescriptions after having prospective customers fill out an online health survey.
Wikipedia has a pretty image that illustrates how resistance is built by these superbugs.
Schematic representation of how antibiotic resistance evolves via natural selection. The top section represents a population of bacteria before exposure to an antibiotic. The middle section shows the population directly after exposure, the phase in which selection took place. The last section shows the distribution of resistance in a new generation of bacteria. The legend indicates the resistance levels of individuals.
Maybe IBM can save us? It’s a long-shot.