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Epidemiology

Superbug. Illustration Luciano Cosmo
Winter 2018

Superbugs

A woman lies dying in a hospital bed in an acute care facility in Nevada. She has a common infection induced by a common bacterium, Klebsiella pneumoniae. But she’s untreatable: her infection is resistant to all 26 of the antibacterial drugs available in the United States capable of treating the bacterium. The infection spreads further, which causes her blood pressure to drop precipitously until she finally succumbs to septic shock.

While death by “superbugs” is still fairly rare, the World Health Organization warns that, if bacteria keep evolving drug resistance at the rate they have been, such bugs will globally cause 10 million deaths per … » More …