The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Microbial Evolution and Co-Adaptation: A Tribute to the Life and Scientific Legacies of Joshua Lederberg (2009)

Dr. Joshua Lederberg—scientist, Nobel laureate, visionary thinker, and friend of the Forum on Microbial Threats—died on February 2, 2008. It was in his honor that the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats convened a public workshop on May 20-21, 2008, to examine Dr. Lederberg's scientific and policy contributions to the marketplace of ideas in the life sciences, medicine, and public policy. The resulting workshop summary, Microbial Evolution and Co-Adaptation, demonstrates the extent to which conceptual and technological developments have, within a few short years, advanced our collective understanding of the microbiome, microbial genetics, microbial communities, and microbe-host-environment interactions.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: If you have a cold or the flu, taking antibiotics will help treat the infection.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, not viral infections such as influenza and the common cold. In fact, inappropriate use and overuse of antibiotics contributes to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria. 

  • Correct!

    Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, not viral infections such as influenza and the common cold. In fact, inappropriate use and overuse of antibiotics contributes to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria.