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Superbugs

Hospital-bred Superbugs Escaping into Communities, Threatening Children

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: superbugs, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) Antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains are becoming increasingly common outside of hospital settings and are posing an increasing risk to communities, according to research findings presented at a conference of the Federation of Infections Societies.

Irish researchers warned of bacteria that have evolved to carry enzymes called extended spectrum beta lactamases (ESBLs), because they are antibiotic-resistant. A strain of E. coli with ESBLs is thought to be responsible for an outbreak of cystitis in the UK in 2003 and 2004.

"In severe [cystitis] infections, patients may suffer serious complications if the first antibiotic given to them does not work," said Dearbhaile Morris, of the National University of Ireland.

British researchers noted that strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) known as Panton Valentine leukocidin (PVL) have evolved to spread well outside of hospital settings, and Irish researchers warned of a new bacteria mutation that has allowed certain species, including E. coli, to develop antibiotic resistance and spread in communities.

According to Marina Morgan of the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation NHS Trust, PVL strains of MRSA can spread via skin-to-skin contact. They also have a tendency to develop into a condition called necrotizing pneumonia, which destroys lung tissue and can kill a patient in as little as one day.

"These new strains of bacteria appear to be able to stick to damaged skin and airways better than the hospital MRSA strains, and they can multiply at a faster rate," Morgan said.

In the United States, 12 percent of all MRSA infections occur outside of hospital settings.

"MRSA is often thought of as a hospital superbug," said Kevin Kerr, a consultant microbiologist at Harrogate District Hospital in North Yorkshire, "but we are becoming increasingly aware of strains which are causing infections outside hospitals. The emergence of community MRSA underlines just how good bacteria are at evolving to present us with new and difficult problems."

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