This is an insight about food-born pathogens and what factors are affected by it's outbreaks. This is a huge issue that is not very well-known. The pathogens in food has been increasing their resistance to antibiotics by mutations. Because we are generally using antibiotics more each day, the resistance in these pathogens is growing more rapidly then it did before.
This article or story is about foodborne pathogens. These have been causing more and more deaths and illnesses every year. This is a model about how one factor connects to another. We will go through the factors one by one, examine the behavior over time graphs, and look at archetypes.
As you see, our first factor that we will examine will be the number of outbreaks since 1970. This will determine everything else, as you will eventually find near the end of this article.
The year of 1970 is when food-related pathogens started to become an issue. It was one of the first outbreaks of food-born pathogens. It was the Bon Vivant outbreak that caused a man to die and make his wife seriously ill. This was because there was the botulism toxin in a can of Bon Vivant soup. This destroyed confidence in the soup company. (Patrick, 2007)
We have two more factors that are determined by the number of outbreaks since 1970. The first one, the resistance to antibiotics in foodborn pathogens, is the most important thing in this article because this factor is what mainly makes people get worried, and it also makes the healthcare agencies be forced to make new antibiotics that these pathogens are not used to.
When antibiotics came about (even though it did earlier than 1970), the pathogens started to mutate to become resistant to these drugs. As more people started to use antibiotics because of large food outbreaks, the antibiotics started mutating even faster, becoming resistant to many critically and highly important antibiotics (declared by WHO). Because of this, many other outbreaks occurred because the drugs did not stop the pathogen. The relationship between the number of outbreaks and the resistance to antibiotics is a reinforcing loop.
The way out of this is to find a way to prevent these pathogens from mutating or to keep finding new antibiotics which is quite expensive.
Because of these pathogens in food, especially in dairy and meat products that farmers produce, people start to distrust these farmers. There are many results from this.
This new factor: the number of people who cannot afford antibiotics is one of the dangers of the pathogens mutating. While the bacteria is gaining resistance to the antibiotics that we fight them with the newer and more sophisticated antibiotics are more expensive, there are less of them, and the side effects may be more severe than they were before. Since the antibiotics are more expensive, less people can afford it, making the number of outbreaks go up faster. This is because it is easier for the bacteria to spread without having to fight off any antibiotic.
The rate of dairy product purchases go down because of these food outbreaks. Especially when an outbreak is in progress or just happened. The amount of food-born pathogen outbreaks tells people that dairy is usually responsible, therefore bringing people to avoid dairy.
This also makes consumers distrust the farmers and their products, hence leading to boycott and other things like that.
The trust here is not only about farmers, but there is also trust in the healthcare industry as a factor.
First of all, this affects the resistance to antibiotics in the pathogens because if you trust them, then they will be able to make more antibiotics to help illnesses. The resistance will decrease because of this a bit, and it will in turn decrease the amount of people who cannot afford the product because now there are more options. To turn this into a loop, this gives more trust to the health industry, making a 3-arrow reinforcing loop.
The use of antibiotics is the main cause of the resistance in these pathogens, as I have been saying in this entire article.
The use of antibiotics is caused by many things. Not only the three displayed here.
The first factor that affects the use of antibiotics is the profit of farmers. Because people are not buying their dairy products, their profit goes down, allowing them to buy less antibiotics. Even though it decreases the amount of resistance of the bacteria, the farmer could risk going out of business.
The second factor is the trust in the health industry. That gets more people to come for antibiotics.
The third factor is the number of outbreaks. This makes more people come because they are ill. The problem is that this factor creates a 3-arrow reinforcing loop that is made up of the use of antibiotics to the resistance to antibiotics in food-born pathogens to # of outbreaks since 1970 and back to the use of antibiotics. This makes the problem worse and worse. Again, if we can stop these pathogens from mutating, the problem will end.
The factor of the number of current illnesses has an interesting relationship with the "use of antibiotics" factor. It is a backfire loop, so the number of illnesses goes up and over time, goes back down and then repeats the process every outbreak because of the increasing arrow going from the number of outbreaks to the number of illnesses. This factor will have a huge impact on the final two factors.
There are many different opinions about whether or not the healthcare industry really cares about money except for the fact that it helps people, but they do gain a lot of money from this dilemma. The number of illnesses and just the trust in their profession both gives them money, which they can use to solve problems at hand.
Of course, the number of ill people creates concern about this problem because there may be a lot of people that have their lives at risk. The amount of outbreaks also supports the concern because nobody likes hearing the bad news about diseases. The main hope of collapsing the reinforcing loops that are making our problems worse are in the people's hands, and the concern will only help with the job
The main archetype here is fixes that backfire. As you see, the use of antibiotics is the temporary fix. This reduces the number of outbreaks for a short time, but in the long run, it only makes the problem worse, because the pathogens develop resistance to the antibiotics and increase the number of outbreaks!
This is a graph that shows the number of outbreaks since 1970 of food-based pathogens. Over the years, especially starting in the 21st century, the resistance to antibiotics has increased in these bacteria. In 1985, there was a major outbreak that was caused by milk and had about 2800 people hospitalized. This was probably responsible for a few other following outbreaks.
The illnesses mostly relate to the number of outbreaks. The more outbreaks that happen (which means the increase in the number of outbreaks since 1970), the more people become ill, and since there are more people becoming ill, more antibiotics are being used, making the pathogen become more resistant, creating even MORE illnesses in the long run.
This is the main point of the article, because if the pathogens eventually mutate to become resistant to 100 percent of the common antibiotics like Streptomycin, then we are in for trouble.
For this data, I give thanks to healtcareforamerica.org.
My data is still not completely accurate, but it
is not guesswork.
The overall amount of money that the healthcare industry earned in profit per year increased with the number of outbreaks because there are more customers.
I believe that this trend will keep going to a point, until there are so many people that cannot afford antibiotics that the healthcare industry will begin to find their profits declining. There is a way to fix this and keep the healthcare industry in control and solve this problem of the decline before it even starts. We need to make an antibiotic that pathogens cannot be resistant to, and I feel confident that that will happen with the 7 billion people on our planet.
In conclusion, this food-born pathogen issue is a big deal, and it is growing by the second. We all have a chance to stop this problem and collapse this system with many terrible reinforcing loops. We can find a way out of the fixes that backfire loop or destroy the loop altogether.
Just look at how just one factor in this issue affects many others, and how those others affect even more other factors! Again, we can stop this issue if just keep working toward our goal.
Health Insurance Industry | Health Care for America Now. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2016, from http://healthcareforamericanow.org/ourissues/health-insurance-industry/
Lyons, P. (2007, October 5). In a Beef Packager's Demise, a Whiff of Vichyssoise. Retrieved January 20, 2016, from http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/in-a-beef-packagers-demise-a-whiff-of-vichyssoise/?_r=0#more-845