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Nanotechnology sensor detects living bacteria at ultralow concentrations

A pathogen is a an organism (bacterium, virus, parasite) that causes disease in another organism. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths each year in the United States. In addition to the food supply, microbacterial infections are a major issue in hospitals. Other CDC data estimates that infections acquired in hospitals alone affect approximately 2 million persons annually. In the U.S., between 44,000 and 98,000 people die every year from infections they picked up in hospitals. The numbers for Europe are equally scary.

Add to that the potential for terrorist attacks with pathogen-based bioweapons and it becomes clear that the development of fast and reliable biosensors is a major issue. The problem today is that analytical tools for the rapid detection of pathogens tend to be slow.
 
 

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