Vital Signs: Friendly Fire

When antibiotics kill the wrong bacteria, harmful bugs thrive.

By Claire Panosian Dunavan|Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Not long ago, a friend phoned. He sounded cheerful until I asked about his wife and their summer vacation. Suddenly the energy drained from his voice. “Actually, we were grounded,” he confided. “Candy has had diarrhea for weeks. Her doctor is finally running some stool tests.”“I’m so sorry,” I said, adding—almost by rote—“I hope C. difficile is on the list.”The following night, my friend rang again, this time both ebullient and relieved. “Guess what? You were right!” he began. “Candy’s C. diff ...

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