The War against Bacteria

A health disaster and how to fight it

Antibiotic resistance is an insidious, worldwide epidemic that threatens to destroy the global health system from within. Today, more than 700,000 patients die of antibiotic-resistant bacteria worldwide every year.

The World Health Organization warns: Without antibiotics, medical science is going to be set back 100 years in time. Not only will we be powerless against treating infections, without antibiotics, even simple surgery becomes impossible. Diseases such as pneumonia, whooping cough, scarlet fever and measles will again be very deadly – yes even cholera and plague can return as global pandemics. By year 2050, 10 million people will be at risk every year. The biggest health disaster the world has seen is right at your doorstep. Yet we hardly ever talk about the threat that surrounds us.

Huge amounts of antibiotics are used in the agricultural industry to secure cheaper meat for consumers – while research shows how resistant bacteria easily spread from animals to humans, through water, food and soil. But The War against Bacteria is also a fascinating exploration of the opportunities we have for solving the crisis. Erik Martiniussen talks to health care workers in Tromsø, Georgia, Poland about how antibiotic use can be drastically reduced. He visits farmers and agricultural leaders in the UK, Belgium and Norway to learn more about animal husbandry without antibiotics. And he explores the forgotten cures and the new knowledge about the nature of the bacteria that makes it possible to imagine a medicine much less dependent on antibiotics. Maybe the war on bacteria can first be won if we stop looking at it as a war?

Page-turner about the silent plague. The impressive “The War against Bacteria” is scary reading, but no dystopia.
…He impresses with his clarity, thoroughness and the huge amount of substance – and not at least the linguistic clarity that makes the book easily readable for everyone.

Dagbladet

If you don’t think the corona pandemic is frightening enough, Erik Martiniussen convinces with a highly up-to-date book about the growing danger of resistant bacteria.

Dagens Næringsliv

Already now in March I can say: This book about bacteria is one of the best of the year!
…I bow in awe for writer and journalist Erik Martiniussen and his hunt for bacteria. This is a great book about some of our smallest enemies and friends.

Aftenposten

He has written a sober book where the facts speak for themselves. He does this without frightening adjectives but relies on the drama of the material to be strong enough to hold on the reader. And he approaches his interviewees with an open, curious mind, and with no fixed opinions. The result is natural science research journalism of highest class.

Stavanger Aftenblad

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