martes, octubre 24, 2006

Departamento de de datos impactantes

No soy el primero en darse cuenta que tenemos muy, pero muy poca idea de los riesgos que enfrentamos en la vida, además de que la poca idea que tenemos está bastante distorsionada. Naturalmente, esto quiere decir que nuestras políticas públicas suelen enfocarse a cosas que no vienen mucho al caso. Este artículo me impresionó. Cito un par de párrafos:

In the United States, MRSA kills an estimated 13,000 people every year, which means that a hospital patient is 10 times as likely to die of MRSA as an inmate is to be murdered in prison. The latest survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 64 percent of the Staphylococcus-aureus strains in American hospitals were MRSA?that is, resistant to the powerful antibiotic methicillin and other antibiotics?which makes them difficult to treat. MRSA has also spread to the general public, afflicting football teams and schools in the last three years. I know a healthy 5-year-old who got a staph infection recently after she skinned her knee on the playground. She ended up requiring two full months of antibiotic treatment, while her mother scoured the house with bleach on doctor's orders. And she may not be rid of the bug yet.

Given the dimensions of the threat, you'd think that the CDC would be making a priority of fighting it. After all, federal health agencies have spent billions to fight anthrax (which caused five deaths in 2001), smallpox (last U.S. death: 1949), and pandemic flu (yet to appear in the United States). And there is reason to think that search and destroy works, since health-care authorities abroad have kept rates of antibiotic-resistant bugs in their countries much lower than ours. In Dutch hospitals, the rate of MRSA is less than 1 percent. Canada's rate is 10 percent. And more than 100 studies have shown the effectiveness of search and destroy, including work released in the last month in the United States.

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