Until now, antibiotics have easily killed group A streptococcus, the bacteria that cause strep throat and life-threatening septic infections, but now hospitals have seen a sudden, widespread resistance of the bacteria to widely used antibiotic erythromycin. Strep is becoming a superbug.
Doctors suspect the strep bacteria also are becoming resistant to other popular drugs in the same antibiotic family. The use of these antibiotics is growing because they require only one dose a day, compared with three for many other antibiotics. People who are allergic to penicillin rely on them.