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STAPHYLOCOCCAL INFECTIONS AND THE PROBLEM OF ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT STAPHYLOCOCCI

WESLEY W. SPINK, M.D.
AMA Arch Intern Med. 1954;94(2):167-196. doi:10.1001/archinte.1954.00250020001001.
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PENICILLIN was injected for the first time into a human patient having an infection on Feb. 12, 1941.37 The patient had severe staphylococcal sepsis and improved considerably, but he died subsequently because of the very limited supply of penicillin. Shortly thereafter, with more antibiotic available, penicillin proved to be extraordinarily effective for the treatment of staphylococcal disease. As a consequence, the mortality rate for staphylococcal septicemia was sharply reduced, and chronic debilitating disease was decreased in those who recovered. But within a decade penicillin was to lose much of its therapeutic effectiveness for staphylococcal sepsis, and, regardless of the advancements made with other antibiotics, the mortality rates from staphylococcal septicemia in many clinics today approach and even surpass 50% of the cases. Many of the disappointing clinical results with penicillin and other antibiotics have been due to the appearance of strains of staphylococci resistant to the antibacterial action of

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