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C. Prevention Is Key When Dealing With Infectious Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. These are challenging times in the field of infectious disease. Dr. Leland Rickman, director of the University of California, San Diego's Epidemiology Unit, says that's because many microorganisms, which were once easy to treat, are becoming resistant to antibiotics. This includes pneumococcus, one of the most common causes of pneumonia.

Rickman: This has big implications since it is such a common organism and can cause such a wide spectrum of diseases, including death, especially in children, that our therapeutic options are really getting to be quite limited for treating these types of infections.

Narrator: So researchers are working on other ways to fight bacterial infections.

Rickman: Antibiotics are only one approach. We have vaccines that are very effective against certain bacterial infections. And it's been shown repeatedly it's much easier to prevent an infection than to treat it. So I think the whole field of vaccine science will at least in part, help us fight this class of microorganisms.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.