Tags: superbugs | deadlier | fitter | resistant

Superbugs Deadlier as They Become 'Fitter,' More Resistant

Image: Superbugs Deadlier as They Become 'Fitter,' More Resistant
Test tubes with bacteria ready to be tested (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

By    |   Friday, 24 Jul 2015 08:25 AM

So-called superbugs, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, maybe even more difficult to treat than originally thought because researchers now believe the bacteria grow "fitter" as they become more resistant.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston revealed that finding in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. In the study, according to LiveScience.com, scientists looked at the effects of genes on antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, bacteria that cause lung infections.

In a test with mice, researchers found that the antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria were more likely to kill mice than mice infected with the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria that was not antibiotic resistant over the period of the study.

The study also found that antibiotic-resistant strains also killed certain immune cells, which is the body's defense against harmful bacteria.

"A potentially overlooked consequence of the acquisition of antimicrobial resistance could be enhanced fitness and virulence of pathogens," the researchers wrote in Science Translational Medicine.

"(The finding) raises a serious concern that drug-resistant strains might be better fit to cause serious, more difficult to treat infections, beyond just the issues raised by the complexity of antibiotic treatment," they said.

The scientists said research into two other bacteria strains – Acinetobacter baumannii, which causes infections in people in hospitals, and Vibrio cholera, which causes the cholera – produced similar superbug findings, noted LiveScience.

"Our results show that efforts to confront the worldwide increase in antibiotic resistance might be exacerbated by fitness advantages that enhance virulence in drug-resistant microbes," said the study's researchers.

The World Health Organization stated this week that superbugs are creating an "increasingly serious threat to global public health," reported Al Jazeera, and have been a contributing factor in at least 700,000 annual deaths.

One study commissioned by British Prime Minister David Cameron said superbug-related deaths could to rise to 10 million by 2050 and cost the world economy about $100 trillion.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that at least two million people in the United States become infected with such antibiotic-resistant superbugs annually with at least 23,000 dying as a direct result of those infections.

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So-called superbugs, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, maybe even more difficult to treat than originally thought because researchers now believe the bacteria grow "fitter" as they become more resistant.
superbugs, deadlier, fitter, resistant
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2015-25-24
Friday, 24 Jul 2015 08:25 AM
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