War Against The Microbes

As deaths from infections surge, medicine is racing to regain control over superbugs

One of the greatest triumphs of human ingenuity has been our progress against infectious disease. Today, we have only the mute testimony of millions of gravestones to remind us of the lives tragically cut short by scarlet fever, polio, smallpox, or rampant infections of childbirth. But these mighty conquests are of small comfort to Christy and Chad Gimmestad of Evans, Colo. Their 16-month-old daughter, Anna Grace, died in late 1996 during a worrisome outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7, a vicious microbe unknown until 1980. E. coli's rampage continues: It sickened 16 people in Colorado last year.

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