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Tracking a superbug at the NIH

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A deadly outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria last year at the Clinical Research Center of the National Institutes of Health offers a fascinating and frightening window on the future of medicine. Fascinating because scientists used whole-genome sequencing to obtain a fine-grained blueprint of the genetic material in the bacteria and to track how it spread. Frightening because the bacteria, resistant to multiple antibiotics, defied efforts to control it in the 234-bed hospital in Bethesda.

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