Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin and a father of modern anti-infective therapy, once said, "A good gulp of hot whiskey at bedtime - it's not very scientific, but it helps" (Creative Quotations, 2006). As the problem of antibiotic resistance grows, we find ourselves on the brink of a new era, a post-antibiotic era during which a shot of ampicillin may be less helpful than Fleming's suggested shot of whiskey. We have reviewed the global scope, clinical consequences, and economic impact of antibiotic resistance and nosocomial infections. We have also highlighted how human behaviors, such as the misuse of antibiotics for viral disorders and the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture, create selection pressures that contribute to these epidemics. Although new drug discovery, continued vaccine research, and technologic advances in infection control may help to alleviate these problems, ultimately only changes in human behavior, whether mandated by government oversight or driven by individual conscience, will stem the tide of antibiotic resistance and nosocomial infection.

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