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Killer Microbe

A relatively benign bug becomes a highly lethal pathogen, known to U.S. soldiers as Iraqibacter.
Publish Date: Topic: Body + BrainBody & Brain

(This program is no longer available for online streaming.) Along with all the problems that war brings, we're now facing a new enemy invader emerging from Iraq. Its soldiers are packing weapons, dozens of them. They can survive for weeks at a time without food or water, and we don't know how to fight them. As correspondent John Torres reports, what we really need is a good biologist.

Why? Because the new threat comes in the form of a tiny microbe, a bacterium called baumannii. Known in Iraq as "Iraqibacter," it is named for microbiologist Paul Baumann, who researched it in the 1960s. But even he couldn't predict what this tiny, single-celled organism would one day become, namely, a drug-resistant killer. How to stop it?

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