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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013 released a list of drug-resistant bacterial and fungal infections, labeling each as “urgent,” “serious” or “concerning,” reflecting how dangerous they are, how prevalent and how difficult to treat. Most bacteria are classified as either Gram positive or Gram negative, depending on how they react to a laboratory staining technique. While the Gram-positive bugs methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile are the most well-known drug-resistant bacteria, many Gram-negative species are particularly hard to treat because they have an extra outer membrane that shields them from drugs. Clostridium difficile Prolonged use of antibiotics can allow this common intestinal inhabitant to explode into a lethal infection as the drugs kill off its beneficial rivals in the human gut. Spread via hospital surfaces and human contact, C. difficile most often affects the elderly. It causes severe diarrhea and can ...

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