E. Coli 'Superbug' May Pose Major Health Threat: Study12/17/13
TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A single strain of
E. colibacteria has become the main cause of bacterial
infections in women and the elderly worldwide over the past decade
and poses a serious health threat, researchers report.
Along with becoming more resistant to antibiotics, the "H30-Rx"
strain developed the unprecedented ability to spread from the
urinary tract to the bloodstream and cause an extremely dangerous
infection called sepsis.
This means that the H30-Rx stain poses a threat to the more than
10 million Americans who develop a urinary tract infection each
year, according to the study authors.
They said this strain of appears to be much more able than other
E. colistrains to move from the bladder to the kidneys and
then into the bloodstream. H30-Rx may be responsible for 1.5
million urinary tract infections and tens of thousands of deaths
each year in the United States, according to the study published
Dec. 17 in the journal
Genetic analyses revealed how H30-Rx came into being. More than
two decades ago, a strain called H30 developed mutations in two
genes. This resulted in a clone called H30-R, which was resistant
to the antibiotic Cipro. Soon after, H30-R gave rise to H30-Rx,
which is resistant to several antibiotics.
By focusing on H30-Rx, it might be possible to develop a vaccine
that could prevent many infections, according to the study
"This strain of E. colispreads from person to person, and seems to be particularly virulent," study co-author James Johnson, of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Minnesota, said in a journal news release.
"This study might help us develop better tools to identify, stop or prevent its spread by finding better ways to block the transmission of the superbug, or by finding a diagnostic test that would help doctors identify such an infection early on -- before it might have the chance to turn lethal," he explained.
"We now know that we are dealing with a single enemy, and that by focusing on this strain we can have a substantial impact on this worldwide epidemic," study co-author Evgeni Sokurenko, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in the news release.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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