In what might be a first, doctors in Germany think that a too-gentle washing machine helped spread a superbug to more than a dozen newborns and children in the same hospital—though thankfully, no one was hurt.

Antibiotic resistance has become a major public health threat over the years, and none more so than in hospitals. The constant presence of antibiotics, sick patients with weaker immune systems, and regular bodily contact between people make hospitals an ideal breeding ground for resistance. To combat and track the problem, many hospitals across the world now routinely test patients and hospital surfaces for known troublesome superbugs.

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