Antibiotics

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Uncollected rubbish provides food and shelter for rodents which can spread plague if they pick up the bacteria. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Explainer: understanding plague in the 21st century

Plague, one of the deadliest diseases in the world, has been reported in several African countries in the past decade.
A quantum dot: A high-resolution transmission electron micrograph of cadmium telluride nanoparticles. (The scale bar in the lower right is 2 nanometers long, or two millionths of a millimeter.) Nagpal Group, University of Colorado

Fighting superbugs with nanotechnology and light

Quantum dots - minuscule semiconductor particles with specific light-absorption properties - can kill drug-resistant superbugs without harming the surrounding healthy tissue.
Among the 61 recommendations is: ‘Don’t order chest x-rays in patients with uncomplicated acute bronchitis’. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Antibiotics for colds, x-rays for bronchitis, internal exams with pap tests – the latest list of tests to question

Harm doesn’t just come in the form of side-effects or further testing. The "cons" of any treatment also include the costs, which can be financial, emotional, and the costs of the individual’s time.
Antibiotic resistance is growing. www.shutterstock.com

Is the antibiotic apocalypse nigh?

Researchers in China have found strains of E.coli that are resistant colistin, the antibiotic of last resort.
World Health Organisation director-general Margaret Chan at the launch of a new global campaign against antibiotic resistance. Reuters/Pierre Albouy

Seven hard facts we all need to swallow about antibiotics

More than 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections. The World Health Organisation is trying to end the age of ignorance to protect this global common good.
A pharmacist dispensing drugs at Nairobi’s Mater Hospital. Resistance to antibiotics is high in Africa. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Africa has a long way to go to close the gap on antibiotic resistance

Antibiotics are used extensively in Africa because of the continent's high disease burden. This also means that resistance is high. Steps are being taken to raise awareness and encourage prudent use.
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.

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