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NOVA ScienceNOW

Arms Race With a Superbug

  • By Ron Lubelchek
  • Posted 07.01.08
  • NOVA scienceNOW

Most of us rely on antibiotics when we get sick. But some bacteria have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics, and even more alarmingly, some “superbugs” can withstand a host of different medications. A sobering case in point is Staphylococcus aureus. As this time line shows, strains of Staph aureus have gotten the better of every antibiotic we've developed. Here, follow this ongoing arms race and learn about its unsettling implications.

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Certain microbes evolve defenses against every antibiotic we throw at them. Staph aureus is a sobering case in point.

Dr. Ronald Jay Lubelchek is an infectious-diseases specialist at Stroger (Cook County) Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Rush University Medical Center, both in Chicago. He is coauthor, with Robert Weinstein, of "Antibiotic Resistance and Hospital-acquired Infections," a chapter in The Social Ecology of Infectious Diseases (Academic Press, 2008), from which this time line was adapted with permission.

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Adapted from The Social Ecology of Infectious Diseases, 2008, Lubelchek et al., p 243, fig 9.1/© Elsevier 2008

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