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The lab

Killer diseases such as E. coli infection are back in the news. John Maddox looks at life from a bugs' perspective

By John Maddox   January 1997

Aids day this year fell in the middle of the outbreak of bacterial meningitis in Cardiff and other university campuses, and coincided with the outbreak of the E. coli infection in Lanarkshire. What is going on? Why are we being assaulted by apparently novel infections against which familiar remedies are ineffectual? It is a shock that ten people have already died in Scotland from a variant of a bug that leads an otherwise benign existence in everybody’s intestines. It happened in Japan in July, when the same strain of E. coli killed ten children and hospitalised more than 100 of…

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