We’re crawling on your skin. Teeming under your toenails. And lurking on your doorknobs and countertops.

We’re drug-resistant microbes, immune to all but your strongest antibiotics. And we’re evolving so fast that soon even those medicines won’t stop us. Unless your scientists invent new antibiotics, we’ll kill 10 million people annually by 2050.

We didn’t always pose such a dire threat to mankind. In fact, antibiotics once threatened to eliminate our species. After your scientists developed these drugs in the 1920s, deaths from bacterial infections like pneumonia and cholera plummeted. In the United States, life expectancy jumped from 54 years in 1920 to almost 79 years today, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

But over the years, your doctors prescribed the same treatments over and over — and we eventually evolved to resist them.

More from the LA Times here.