Patient Safety

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Study bolsters concerns that disinfectants create superbugs

A common bacterium is shown to mutate to fight off antiseptics. Researchers say that cleansers must be used properly in hospitals, and that households should use soap rather than antibacterials.

By Amina Khan
January 2, 2010

Disinfectants, be they hand sanitizers or industrial-strength cleaners, present a hospital's first blockade against bacterial infection. But this same weapon may be helping create stronger microbial enemies: superbugs that are resistant to disinfectants and commonly used antibiotics, scientists report in the January issue of the journal Microbiology.

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