SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Squashing Superbugs - The Race for New Antibiotics
from Scientific American
"Superbug Strikes in City" sounds like a horror movie title, but instead it is a headline printed in the October 26, 2007, edition of the New York Post. Twelve days earlier a 12-year-old Brooklyn boy, Omar Rivera, died after a wound he received on the basketball court became infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterium that has become resistant to one of the most potent drug classes in the current antibiotic arsenal.
The prospect of healthy people contracting an untreatable bacterial infection may have seemed remote a decade ago, but it has now become a reality. In 2007 a research team ... reported that MRSA causes 19,000 deaths every year in the U.S., which is more than HIV/AIDS causes.
... Modern medicine is losing the war against disease-causing bacteria that were once considered vanquished, and new approaches to discovering and creating antibiotics are needed to turn the tide.
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Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.
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