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December 1961

New Weapons in the Cold War Against Hot Staph in Nurseries

Am J Dis Child. 1961;102(6):783-784. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.02080010785001

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Quite a few of us were surprised at the potency of penicillin when we learned, several years ago, that minute amounts of this drug suspended in hospital air tended to eradicate penicillin-sensitive staphylococci from the noses of hospital personnel. This observation provided a partial explanation for the annoying prevalence of penicillin-resistant staphylococci among long-term patients and workers in hospitals. It was natural to assume that minute amounts of sodium methicillin (Staphcillin) would similarly reduce the carriage of penicillin-resistant staph. The obvious experiment to prove this was not undertaken without considerable thought. By 1960 when this new drug became available many workers had developed the categorical assumption that since the staphylococcus had shown its adaptability by producing drug-resistant strains to every antibiotic which had been used in considerable quantity, it wouldn't be long before mutants would arise that would be resistant to methicillin. However, the early work on the resistance to

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