January 23, 2017

Dear CB News
I am writing regarding the very good article by Paul Arnold entitled “Can we avoid the antibiotic apocalypse?” on page 22 of the January 20 edition. I applaud Paul for highlighting the serious issue of the over-prescribing of antibiotics, which has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
However, there is a flaw in the article which needs to be addressed for the sake of everyone’s health. Paul makes reference to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. He seems to imply that fewer people would have died if antibiotics had been available at that time. He’s making an often-made error of confusing bacteria with a virus. Flu is a virus and antibiotics don’t work against a virus.
Indeed, there is another article on page 9 of the same edition regarding a possible flu epidemic in the Marina Alta, which states that “antibiotics do not work and can actually be harmful…”.
At the end of Paul’s article, he implies that running to the hills is no good. I disagree. Running to the hills would certainly be more helpful than running to the doctor’s surgery for antibiotics and spreading your flu virus to everyone else in the surgery!
Keep up the good work.

Best regards
Alan Tocher

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