The Antibiotics Crisis

We're in the midst of an escalating arms race with the microbe, and we may be losing

From the filthy, louse-ridden cells of Russia's overcrowded prisons has emerged a serial killer that is as devious as it is dangerous. Its name is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and it sallies forth on spumes of sputum each time an infected inmate coughs or sneezes. As many as 10% of Russia's million prisoners suffer active TB; in at least 1 case out of 5, the bacillus is a multidrug-resistant strain. Now M. tuberculosis in virulent forms is stalking ordinary citizens in Russian cities and towns, and soon, if it hasn't done so already, it will hitch a ride on an airplane, a bus,...

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