Wired writes about a frightening discovery made by Japanese scientists: rivers around the world are being contaminated with Tamiflu, the premier flu-fighting medicine, as users excrete it in their urine.
What’s the big deal? Birds, who are carriers of influenza, are being exposed to the waterborne Tamiflu residues and might develop and spread drug-resistant trains of seasonal and avian flu.
If scientists’ measurements are right, concentrations of Tamiflu in natural bodies of water are now “high enough to lead to antiviral resistance in waterfowl.” And, Tamiflu contamination will only rise in the coming winter months, as seasonal and swine flu hit the population.
Will Tamiflu sow the seeds of the next great pandemic?