EDITORIAL

Time to Deal with Antibiotics

Science  15 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6160, pp. 777
DOI: 10.1126/science.1248056

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Summary

Antibiotic drugs—penicillin, tetracycline, and their more modern successors—have been critical elements in the world's efforts to sustain health and deal with human diseases. Unfortunately, the vital role of these drugs has been critically compromised by the prevalence of dangerous infections that antibiotics can no longer control, because bacteria are resistant to them. Even nations with strong health care systems, respected medical centers, and fine hospitals are experiencing a growing epidemic of infections that they now simply cannot cure. Here in the United States, such infections kill nearly 23,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) report Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. Farming practices are largely to blame for the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains, and at last there is hope for reform.