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Bacteria clump up to infect bloodstream

Scientists have built a device that simulates blood flow—and used it to discover that bacteria literally stick together to infect the blood.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans get sick each year—and tens of thousands die—after bacteria get into their blood, and the new research may explain why. The study also suggests why some of those bloodstream infections resist treatment with even the most powerful antibiotics.

In a new paper in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, a team of University of Michigan researchers demonstrates that bacteria can form antibiotic-resistant clumps in a short time, even in a flowing liquid such as the blood.

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