An Unstoppable Bacteria

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ATLANTA: Staphylococcus, the bacterium responsible for most hospital-acquired infections, is rapidly becoming resistant to the antibiotic which has kept it in check for decades, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed Wednesday. The development, first reported by the Dallas Morning News, may leave doctors without an adequate way to kill the organism and could eventually lead to an unstoppable wave of deadly infections in hospitals. First discovered in Japan, the new strain showed an "intermediate" level of resistance to the antibiotic vancomycin, which has been used worldwide to fight off Staphylococcus and other stubborn types of bacteria for the past 30 years. Dr. Francisco Sapico, an infectious disease specialist at USC's Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, told TIME Online the possibility of losing vancomycin as a weapon against Staphylococcus is cause for concern. "It would become very serious, because there are not many other antibiotics that could be active against the organism," he said. Sapico added, however, that new medications under development in the U.S. and Europe offer hope of a new way to combat new Staphylococcus strains into the next century.