“The Unreported Threat in Coverage of Anthrax”
– Philip Caper
Though coverage of the potential health hazards of antibiotic abuse and overuse did not receive nearly the prominence of illnesses and deaths caused by anthrax, some news organizations did report this information. Among them were The New York Times and The Washington Post. Excerpts from those stories follow:

‘Cure’ for Bioterror May Be Worse Than the Disease
The New York Times, October 22, 2001
By Gina Kolata

“A number of health officials and experts are warning that steps being taken by the government and members of the public in response to threats of bioterrorism carry health risks that may far exceed their benefits…. ‘Our big problem is not bioterrorism,’ said Dr. Highlighting Antibiotic Resistance Lucy Shapiro, a microbiologist who heads the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine at Stanford University. ‘It’s our response that’s going to lead to a big jump in antibiotic resistance. That’s the terror.’ … ‘They don’t have to kill us with anthrax,’ Dr. Shapiro said, referring to the prospect that diseases might develop a resistance to antibiotics. ‘They can just change the whole flora and fauna of our pathogen world. This is about the worst thing that can happen in our war on bugs.’”

Emphasis on Cipro Worries Officials
The Washington Post, October 19, 2001
By Justin Gillis and Ceci Connolly

“Doctors and public health experts are growing increasingly worried about the public’s obsession with Cipro, saying that widespread, unnecessary use of the antibiotic is likely to threaten the health of far more people than the anthrax attacks that have sparked alarm…. [I]ndiscriminate use is likely to contribute to the emergence of strains of germs resistant to Cipro and its chemical cousins. Those drugs, which constitute the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics, are already one of the last effective treatments for some serious infections that have become resistant to most other treatment…. ‘You’re going to see a huge change in the microbiology of the world in which we live, to the detriment of a drug that’s critically important to many of our patients,’ said [Stuart] Levy [head of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston]. ‘It’s an experiment in evolution that we’re witnessing.’”

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