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Antibiotics, also called antibacterials, are a type of antimicrobial drug used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. A limited number of antibiotics also possess antiprotozoal activity. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as the common cold or influenza, and their inappropriate use allows the emergence of resistant organisms. In 1928, Alexander Fleming identified penicillin, the first chemical compound with antibiotic properties. Fleming was working on a culture of disease-causing bacteria when he noticed the spores of a little green mold , in one of his culture plates. He observed that the presence of the mold killed or prevented the growth of the bacteria.

Testing the susceptibility of Staphylococcus aureus to antibiotics by the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method – antibiotics diffuse from antibiotic-containing disks and inhibit growth of S. aureus, resulting in a zone of inhibition.

Antibiotics, also called antibacterials, are a type of antimicrobial drug used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. A limited number of antibiotics also possess antiprotozoal activity. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as the common cold or influenza, and their inappropriate use allows the emergence of resistant organisms. In 1928, Alexander Fleming identified penicillin, the first chemical compound with antibiotic properties. Fleming was working on a culture of disease-causing bacteria when he noticed the spores of a little green mold (Penicillium chrysogenum), in one of his culture plates. He observed that the presence of the mold killed or prevented the growth of the bacteria.

Antibiotics revolutionized medicine in the 20th century, and have together with vaccination led to the near eradication of diseases such as tuberculosis in the developed world. Their effectiveness and easy access led to overuse, especially in livestock raising, prompting bacteria to develop resistance. This has led to widespread problems with antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance, so much as to prompt the World Health Organization to classify antimicrobial resistance as a "serious threat [that] is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country".

The era of antibacterial treatment began with the discovery of arsphenamine, first synthesized by Alfred Bertheim and Paul Ehrlich in 1907, and used to treat syphilis. The first systemically active antibacterial drug, prontosil was discovered in 1933 by Gerhard Domagk, for which he was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize. All classes of antibiotics in use today were first discovered prior to the mid 1980s.

Sometimes the term antibiotic is used to refer to any substance used against microbes, synonymous with antimicrobial, leading to the widespread but incorrect belief that antibiotics can be used against viruses. Some sources distinguish between antibacterial and antibiotic; antibacterials are used in soaps and cleaners generally and antibiotics are used as medicine.

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