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Ever since doctors started using penicillin to kill bacterial infections in the 1940s, researchers have worried some bacteria would become resistant to antibiotics. Their fears are now coming true as scientists discover antibiotic-resistant germs. They say so-called "superbugs" will leave doctors defenseless against some illnesses.

Where do these superbugs come from? Does the use of antibiotics on the farm affect humans? How do our everyday activities contribute to the creation of superbugs and what can be done? MPR News investigates in this three-part series.

Part One: A Race Against Time
"I'm sitting here with an only child and I'm running a system that hasn't been working for me and actually is endangering the lives of my family. No one ever told me that that's a possibility."

Part Two: Antibiotics on the Farm
"When you deal with human lives and the emotions of someone dying, possibly because the antibiotic they use in the hospital doesn't work, it's a very compelling argument to say it came from the farm."

Part Three: The Invisible Web
"We're finding bacteria that are resistant to key classes of antibiotics that are used for a broad range of treatment types. We're finding some bacteria that are resistant to every antibiotic that we've tested."


Food and Drug Administration
This site provides an extensive report on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a report on efforts to solve the problem.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria fact sheet
The American Society of Health System Pharmacists has an online fact sheet with a bullet-list on the issue.

Protecting the Crown Jewels of Medicine
The Center for Science in the Public Interest posts a report which it says "demonstrates the urgent need to prevent antibiotics from losing their effectiveness against diseases that are now curable."