Articles on Bacterial infections

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Man in a hospital via Shutterstock. From

What will it take to reduce infections in the hospital?

Thousands of people acquire infections while hospitalized. Many are caused by urinary catheters, a routine part of a hospital stay. But cutting back on their usage can lower infection rates.
It’s bacterial biofilms that give the Grand Prismatic Spring its colorful hues. Karin Sauer

Unlocking the secrets of bacterial biofilms – to use against them

The vast majority of the bacteria that surround us are not free-floating but prefer to band together in cooperative communities called biofilms. How do biofilms form and cooperate?
Staphylococcus aureus has confused researchers about how superbugs cause deadly infections. Janice Haney Carr/wikimedia

Deadliest superbugs are not the most toxic, new study shows

A narrow focus on bacteria that produces high levels of toxin may have misled researchers in the pursuit to understand superbugs.
The more we take antibiotics, the more likely we are to have superbugs down the line. Brandice Schnabel/Flickr

When should you take antibiotics?

Antibiotics can prevent serious harm and stop infections becoming fatal. But they won't kill common cold and flu viruses, and careless overprescribing by doctors can do more harm than good.
We’re in a protracted war against superbugs because we’ve overused existing antibiotics: a key weapon against disease. Nomadic Lass/Flickr

We need new antibiotics to beat superbugs, but why are they so hard to find?

We’ve heard a lot lately about superbugs – bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics. But as the threat of superbugs continues to rise, the number of new treatments available has flatlined. This…
Symptoms can occur as soon as 30 minutes after exposure to the culprit organism or toxin. Anton Brand/Shutterstock

Explainer: what is gastroenteritis and why can’t I get rid of it?

We’ve all experienced the abdominal cramps and the urge to get to a toilet – quickly! When the stomach and intestinal tract become inflamed, our bodies respond with the sudden onset of diarrhoea, associated…
Consuming bath milk is particularly risky because it may contain the deadly STEC E.Coli bug. Olga Prokopova/Shutterstock

Bath milk crisis must prompt better cosmetic safety regulation

The death this week of a Victorian toddler after allegedly drinking “bath milk” is a reminder of how dangerous some natural cosmetics can be. The product – Mountain View Organic Dairy’s Organic Bath Milk…
Better antimicrobial stewardship could curb infection rates. Global Panorama/Flickr

Overuse of antibiotics tied to increase in painful gut infection

Going to the hospital can save your life, but it is not without risks. Patients can be exposed to dangerous infections while receiving treatment. In the United States, health care-associated infections…
Not pretty. Pete Seidel/Jack Poland/CDC

The bug that lost a few genes to become Black Death

About 6,000 years ago, a bacterium underwent a few genetic changes. These allowed it to expand its habitat from the guts of mice to that of fleas. Such changes happen all the time, but in this particular…
You can never be too safe. government_press_office

Households are new source of antibiotic-resistant superbug

Human skin is a garden of microbes which is home to about 1,000 bacterial species. Most are benign but some invade the skin and cause illness – and of these, antibiotic resistant bacteria are particularly…
This little thing changed the world. Science Museum London

A world without antibiotics would be a dark place indeed

The introduction into clinical practice of antibiotics is arguably the most significant medical advance of the 20th century. Together with immunisation and better public sanitation, they’ve had a significant…

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