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THE INCREASING spread of drugresistant strains of bacteria such as pneumococci and enterococci is mirrored by increasing concern among infectious disease experts, who fear that the microbes are uncomfortably close to being able to take whatever human beings and the pharmaceutical industry can dish out.
"There has been an explosion in pneumococcal resistance throughout the world in the last 5 years," noted Keith Klugman, MD, at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) held in San Francisco, Calif.
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In the United States, for example, where resistance to Streptococcus pneumoniae was less than 5% in 1990, about 25% of pneumococci are now resistant to antibiotics, said Klugman, head of medical microbiology at the South Africa Institute of Medical Research in Johannesburg. Other regions experiencing "massive problems" include Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, and at least some Asian countries, including South Korea and Japan.
Stephenson J. Conjugate Vaccines Hold Hope for Countering Resistant Pneumococcus. JAMA. 1995;274(17):1327-1328. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530170007002