Chapter 6 : Running Wild with Antibiotics

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The antibiotic era, stemming from the first clinical use of penicillin in the 1940s, along with vaccination and sanitation, provided a sense of confidence in medicine that infectious diseases had been conquered. As the U.S. Surgeon General declared in 1967, it was time to "close the book on infectious disease." Bacteria are able to grow quickly to remarkably large population sizes and have an uncanny ability to exchange genes across different species. The evolution of antibiotic resistance is an example of what is often referred to as the “Red Queen effect.” Antibiotics can control many infections, but there are ominous reports of some pathogens now being resistant to all known antibiotics. Some countries are enacting much stricter controls on antibiotic use, and scientists are hoping to develop novel antibiotics that, because of their very nature, do not lead to the rapid evolution of resistance.

Citation: Kolter R. 2012. Running Wild with Antibiotics, p 43-48. In Kolter R, Maloy S (ed), Microbes and Evolution. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818470.ch6
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