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Access to the article is free, however registration and sign-in are required. Bloodletting by physicians before the era of antibiotics may seem like a barbaric practice, but it may have been of some benefit to patients suffering from bacterial infections. In her Perspective, Rouault explains that most bacteria depend on a source of iron to grow and survive inside their animal hosts. A new study (Skaar et al.) shows that the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus uses several ingenious strategies to obtain iron from heme stored as hemoglobin in the red blood cells of its mammalian hosts.
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