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Drug-Resistant E. Coli: A “True Superbug”?

A strain of the sometimes-deadly bacteria is defying antibiotics.

FALL 2010
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e. coli

Luke Jerram

A “TRUE SUPERBUG” is what researchers worry a drug-resistant strain of Escherichia coli could become. The diarrhea-causing, sometimes-fatal bacteria—here, supersized 500,000 times in a three-foot-long glass sculpture created by artist Luke Jerram with the help of virologists and glassblowers—is typically treated with antibiotics. But research recently published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that, among 1,600 U.S. patients afflicted by the bug in 2007, the ST131 strain caused as many as 69% of the infections that were resistant to the main antibiotics used to treat E. coli.

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