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Definition of Superbug

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Updated March 30, 2009

Definition: A strain of bacteria that is resistant to one or more antibiotic(s) that would normally treat the bacteria.

The increasing emergence of superbugs is a direct consequence of antibiotic misuse. Misuse of an antibiotic results in incomplete elimination of bacterial infections, which, in turn, leads to survival of strains of bacteria that have evolved to resist that antibiotic. Superbugs can be dangerous because of the limited number of treatment options available. Among some of the more common superbugs are methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) and multiple-drug or extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB and XDR-TB).

Pronunciation: SOO-per-bug
Also Known As: antibiotic-resistant bacteria, multi-drug resistant bacteria
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