Sulfonamides, the first broadly effective agents for the treatment of bacterial infections, were introduced 50 years ago. A large number of antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents have been developed since then. Although all the problems associated with infection in human beings have yet to be solved, virtually every bacterial infection listed in general medical texts (except for some mycobacterial diseases) can now be cured in a predictable number of patients. The enormous success of the chemotherapeutic era is a cause for just and warranted satisfaction.
See also p 1392.
Antibiotics contribute a small, but not insignificant, portion of the cost of medical care. The return for this cost, measured in terms of reduced morbidity and mortality, has been great. Yet as early as 25 to 30 years ago, it became clear that the availability, efficacy, and relative safety of antibiotics had led to inappropriate use associated with direct, as well as