“Infectious Supercarelessness” in Discussing Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

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Neil S. Greenspan


Many bacterial pathogens are exhibiting resistance to increasing numbers of antibiotics making it much more challenging to treat the infections caused by these microbes. In many reports in the media and perhaps even in discussions among physicians and biomedical scientists, these bacteria are frequently referred to as “bugs” with the prefix “super” appended. This terminology has a high potential to elicit unjustified inferences and fails to highlight the broader evolutionary context. Understanding the full range of biological and evolutionary factors that influence the spread and outcomes of infections is critical to formulating effective individual therapies and public health interventions. Therefore, more accurate terminology should be used to refer these multidrug-resistant bacteria. 


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Greenspan NS. “Infectious Supercarelessness” in Discussing Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. PAI [Internet]. 2016 Dec. 15 [cited 2023 Dec. 6];1(2):304-7. Available from: https://www.paijournal.com/index.php/paijournal/article/view/160
Author Biography

Neil S. Greenspan, Professor of Pathology at Case and the Director of the Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory at University Hospitals Case Medical Center

Dr. Neil Greenspan received his A.B., magna cum laude, in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College in 1975. He then earned M.D. and Ph.D. (Immunology) degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1981 until 1986, Dr. Greenspan was a Resident in Laboratory Medicine (Clinical Pathology) at Barnes Hospital, and from 1982-1985 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Immunology at Washington University, both in St. Louis. In 1986, Dr. Greenspan became a faculty member at the Case School of Medicine. He is currently Professor of Pathology at Case and the Director of the Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.


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