The 'Superbug': Imagining A World Without Effective Antibiotics

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An article last week in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases documented a new and dangerous gene that could allow any bacteria to become a superbug that's resistant to antibiotics and almost impossible to treat. 37 people in the U.K. have been identified as carrying bacteria with the gene, called NDM-1, after visiting India and other parts of Asia for medical tourism. Medical personnel are worried that a new strain of superbug may threaten health worldwide. Why are new bugs so resistant to antibiotics? And what might a world look like as superbugs grow stronger? 

We speak with Maryn McKenna, a journalist and the author of "Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA." McKenna has also recently blogged about NDM-1, and says that in her interviews with doctors across the country, their greatest fear is the spectre of "untreatable infections."