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

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Treating Infectious Diseases in a Microbial World (2007)

Humans coexist with millions of harmless microorganisms, but emerging diseases, resistance to antibiotics, and the threat of bioterrorism are forcing scientists to look for new ways to confront the microbes that do pose a danger. This audio podcast, based on the report by the same name, identifies innovative approaches to the development of antimicrobial drugs and vaccines based on a greater understanding of how the human immune system interacts with both good and bad microbes. The report concludes that the development of a single superdrug to fight all infectious agents is unrealistic.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Washing your hands with soaps that have residue-producing antibacterial products, such as those containing the chemical triclosan, have been proven to confer health benefits.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Washing with regular soap is considered the most important way to prevent disease transmission. Routine consumer use of residue-producing antibacterial products has no added benefit and may actually contribute to antibiotic resistance.

  • Correct!

    Washing with regular soap is considered the most important way to prevent disease transmission. Routine consumer use of residue-producing antibacterial products has no added benefit and may actually contribute to antibiotic resistance.