Tags: superbug | risks | raised

‘Superbug’ Alarms Scientists

Monday, 20 February 2012 05:01 PM

University at Buffalo researchers are raising public health alarms about a new, under-recognized and virulent new “superbug” that is causing bacterial infections in otherwise healthy patients.
Until recently, the bacterium - Klebsiella pneumonia – caused infections in mostly sick, hospitalized patients with faulty or damaged immune systems outside the U.S. But since the mid- to late-1990s, a new strain has been striking younger, healthier patients and spreading through communities in the U.S.
"This variant causes serious, life-threatening, invasive infections and is able to spread to other organs from the initial site of infection," said Dr. Thomas Russo, a UB professor and infectious disease specialist. He added that the new strain has the potential to become resistant to antibiotics.
"These hypervirulent strains are the next superbugs–in-waiting," he said. "If they become resistant to antibiotics, they will become difficult, if not impossible to treat."
The disease most often causes a liver abscess, which is not typical for otherwise healthy patients. Between 10 percent and 30 percent of cases are fatal. Russo and his UB colleagues are studying the bacterium, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, in an effort to identify the genes that make it so virulent and try to combat it.
"Infections due to highly resistant bacteria are becoming increasingly problematic," said Russo, lead author of a study on the strain published recently in the journal Public Library of Science ONE. "We are continually threatened by a 'post-antibiotic' era. The combination of a bacterium that is both highly virulent and resistant to antimicrobials is double-trouble."
While the new strain was first seen on in Pacific Rim countries, it has now been found in several cities in North America, including Buffalo, and in Europe, Canada, Israel and South Africa as well. The UB researchers characterize it as "under-recognized" both by physicians and microbiology laboratories.

© HealthDay

1Like our page
Researchers are increasingly concerned about a virulent new infectious agent spreading in the U.S.
Monday, 20 February 2012 05:01 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved