Tag Archives | Superbugs

Frightening ‘Super Gonorrhea’ Strain Emerges

gty_gonorrhea_sc_110708_wgIt has been found in Japan, the country from which new strains have typically originated in the past. (Due to their love hotels?) It could go global in a decade, writes Reuters:

Scientists have found a “superbug” strain of gonorrhea in that is resistant to all antibiotics and say it could transform a once easily treatable infection into a global public health threat.

The new strain of the sexually transmitted disease — called H041 — cannot be killed by any currently recommended treatments for gonorrhea, leaving doctors with no other option than to try medicines so far untested against the disease.

Magnus Unemo of the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria, who discovered the strain with colleagues from Japan in samples from Kyoto, described it as both “alarming” and “predictable.”

In a telephone interview Unemo said the fact that the strain had been found first in Japan also followed an alarming pattern — “Japan has historically been the place for the first emergence and subsequent global spread of different types of resistance in gonorrhea,” he said.

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Will Nanotechnology Save Us From Drug-Resistant Bacteria?

staphThe future: injecting tiny nanoparticles into our bodies to fight the superbugs against which our immune systems are powerless. How could that ever go wrong? Via Technology Review:

Researchers at IBM are designing nanoparticles that kill bacteria by poking holes in them. The scientists hope that the microbes are less likely to develop resistance to this type of drug, which means it could be used to combat the emerging problem of antibiotic resistance.

IBM’s labs aren’t equipped for biological tests, so the researchers collaborated with Yi Yan Yang at the Singapore Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology to test the nanoparticles. They found that the nanoparticles could burst open and kill gram-positive bacteria, a large class of microbes that includes drug-resistant staph. The nanoparticles also killed fungi.

The IBM researchers believe the drug could be injected intravenously to treat people with life-threatening infections. Or it could be made into a gel that could be applied to wounds to treat or prevent infection.

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Half Of Supermarket Meat Contains Drug-Resistant Bacteria

MeatWebMD‘s Brenda Goodman reports on this shocking new study:

There’s a new reason to be careful when handling raw meat at mealtimes.

Researchers testing raw turkey, pork, beef, and chicken purchased at grocery stores in five different cities across the U.S. say that roughly one in four of those samples tested positive for a multidrug antibiotic-resistant “superbug” bacterium.

“The findings were pretty shocking,” says study researcher Lance B. Price, PhD, director of the Center of Food Microbiology and Environmental Health at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Flagstaff, Ariz. “We found that 47% of the samples were contaminated with Staph aureus, and more than half of those strains were multidrug resistant, or resistant to three or more antibiotics.”

The presence of drug-resistant staph bacteria, a category that includes methicillin-resistant Staphylococccus aureus (MRSA), in farm animals and food has been a closely watched problem in Europe, where it has been traced to outbreaks of human disease.

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Losing The War Against Drug-Resistant Superbugs

NEWS-US-ANTIBIOTICSWe’ve all heard warnings that overuse of antibiotics would breed drug-resistant superbugs, but the day of reckoning seems to be approaching faster than anyone anticipated, and science is at a loss for what to do. The pharmaceutical industry is proving to be little help, having abandoned the field of medicines that cure things for the golden revenue flow of drugs that individuals consume chronically until death (e.g. antidepressants and cholesterol-controlling medicine). Are we headed for a future of human helplessness against bacterial plagues, as in the Middle Ages? Via News Daily:

Welcome to a world where the drugs don’t work. For decades scientists have managed to develop new medicines to stay at least one step ahead of an ever-mutating enemy.

Now, though, we may be running out of road. MRSA alone is estimated to kill around 19,000 people every year in the United States — far more than HIV and AIDS — and a similar number in Europe.

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Common Disinfectants Create Mutant Superbugs

SuperbugStephen Messenger writes on Treehunger:

The manufacturers of cleaning products have made a lot of money convincing people that they are under constant assault from harmful bacteria. We’ve been told that the only way to keep our families safe and ensure good health is to disinfect, disinfect, disinfect!

But, according to the latest research, all this superfluous disinfecting could be spawning mutant bacteria capable of resisting the strongest antibiotics. These superbugs have even the most unflappable of scientists doubling-up on their intensifiers:

“This is very, very worrying,” says one researcher.

The research conducted by the National University of Ireland tested the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which responsible for one out of every ten hospital-acquired infections. This strain is said to be “opportunistic” in that it typically affects those with immune systems already weakened.

A mutated strain of P. aeruginosa was observed developing a resistance to the common disinfectant benzalkonium chloride (BSK) with rapidly increasing tolerance.

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