Apologetics, End times, Main, z26
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Are super-bugs paving the way for end-time plagues?

Funeral procession in England for person killed during the 1918-1920 flu Pandemic that killed upwards of 5% of the earth's population.

Funeral procession in England for person killed during the 1918-1920 flu Pandemic that killed upwards of 5% of the earth’s population.

I have always found one of the prophecies given about the end times a bit perplexing – the Bible talks about plagues.

In His description of the apocalyptic end, Jesus warned:

11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11 NASV)

With our modern medical practices, vaccines and antibodies, plagues seem to be something we only read about in history books such as the flu pandemic that swept the world between January 1918 and December 1920. It is estimated that 500 million people were infected from the Pacific islands to the Arctic. The Spanish flu as it came to be known killed upwards of 5% of the earth’s population (100 million people).

But today health officials are warning that the improper use of our antibodies is creating a strain of super bugs that have a natural resistance to modern drugs. This may pave the way for modern-day plagues.

Bacteria are similar to our human population, where we have people who are less susceptible to common colds than others. They have a natural immunity. My dad was one of them, he never caught anything that swept through town be it a cold or a flu.

Some bacteria in a particular population have a stronger resistance to drugs than others. The more vulnerable ones are killed off, and the stronger ones hold on. If a person stops taking the drugs too soon, those bacteria with a natural resistance continue to live and reproduce creating a new population of super bugs.

As scientists started to encounter these super bugs, an old drug developed in the 1950s was dusted off and used to treat patients. Called Colisten, it became known as the “last resort” drug when others failed to do the job.

Up to this point, medical practitioners were reluctant to use Colisten because it is very toxic and can cause serious kidney problems.

But now health researchers are finding e-coli and salmonella bacteria with a resistance to Colisten. They have the ability to neutralize the drug.

Last week, health officials in England issued a warning that 12 people are being treated  for infections related to a Colisten-resistant bacteria – salmonella and e-coli. This was the first time this type of bug had showed up in Britain.

That same week these Colisten-resistant bugs were found on three pig farms in Britain. They were even found on processed chicken arriving from Europe.

Earlier this year, Colisten-resistant e-coli was also found on pig farms in China, where 15 people are being treated.

What is causing this problem is that Colisten is being used by the agricultural-industry to counteract these diseases among animals. Consequently bacteria populations with the ability to resist Colisten are building.

As a result, the only known drug to help humans is slowly being neutralized.

The Daily Mail reports that the head of England’s Carnduff Institute of Infection and Immunity described the discovery of the Colisten-resistant bacteria as a “‘disturbing breach’ in our last line of defense against infection and this risk to human health should not be underestimated.”

This past April, a Pennsylvania woman was discovered with  Colisten-resistant e-coli. Since, the 49-year-old woman had not traveled out of the US in the previous five months, it is suspected she picked up the bug in the America. Health officials are testing all members of the woman’s immediate family.

Speaking on behalf of the U.S. Center for Disease control, Tom Friesen said this “basically shows us that the end of the road isn’t very far away for antibiotics…”

When we look at the Biblical warning about end-time plagues, it is difficult to know if these will be the consequence of our own fallen world or God induced. We have this odd perception that God will not judge man’s sin and rebellion.

But the Bible paints a slightly different picture. In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, God warned Israel He would send plagues because of the nation’s disobedience and is equally clear in the end-times God is behind the plagues because of man’s rebellion and persecution of Christians (Revelation 11:6; Revelation 15:1 and 16:1-2).

But there is good news in the midst of all this. Jesus came to heal every disease and every sickness if we choose to believe in Him (Matthew 9:35; 10:1, Mark 3:10)


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