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Thread: Deadly MRSA staph infection

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    Lightbulb Deadly MRSA staph infection

    Family tree stops MRSA outbreak...

    DNA sequencing of MRSA used to stop outbreak
    13 November 2012 - An outbreak of the hospital superbug MRSA has been brought to an end by UK doctors cracking the bacterium's genetic code.
    It led to them finding one member of staff at Rosie Hospital, in Cambridge, who may have unwittingly carried and spread the infection. They say it is the first time rapid genetic testing has been used to track and then stop an outbreak. One expert said this would soon become "standard practice" in hospitals. Doctors were concerned after MRSA was detected in 12 babies during routing screening. However, current tests could not tell if it was one single outbreak being spread around the unit or if they were separate cases being brought into the hospital. About one in 100 people carry MRSA on their skin without any health problems. To find out, researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Sanger Institute embarked on more sophisticated version of a paternity test. They compared the entire genetic code of MRSA bugs from each baby to build a family tree. It showed they were all closely related and part of the same outbreak.

    After two months without a case and deep cleaning the ward, another case appeared. Analysing the DNA showed that it was again part of the outbreak and attention turned to a carrier. Tests on 154 members of staff showed that one was also carrying MRSA, which may have been spread to babies in the unit. They were treated to remove the infection. "We believe this brought the outbreak to a close," said Dr Julian Parkhill, from the Sanger Institute. "This is really exciting for us because it gave the hospital the opportunity to intervene. "We think this is the first case where whole genome sequencing has actually led to a clinical intervention and brought the outbreak to a close." The study was published in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

    Cheaper

    The cost of working out the entire genetic code of a bacterium has plummeted from millions of pounds to about £50. The time it takes has also fallen dramatically from months to hours. Dr Parkhill said it could get even cheaper: "People are talking about the thousand dollar human genome. "If you can do the human genome for a thousand dollars you can do a bacterial genome for one dollar." Commenting on the research Prof Ross Fitzgerald, from the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, told the BBC: "The study clearly highlights the power of whole genome sequencing for resolving the source and the spread of an epidemic of hospital acquired infection such as MRSA. "It will ultimately, within a small number of years, be standard practice for any hospital outbreak. "I fully expect this to be rolled out as a standard approach in UK hospitals in the very near future."

    Prof Sharon Pea$#@!, from the University of Cambridge, said she wanted to develop a simple system that could be used easily by hospitals. She said she envisioned a "black box" where the genetic sequence goes in and a simple report that can be used by hospital staff comes out. "It could, for example, determine the species of the bacterium; it could determine antibiotic susceptibility, and it could provide information about what genes are present that are often associated with poor outcomes in patients." Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "This is a dramatic demonstration that medical genomics is no longer a technology of the future - it is a technology of the here and now."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20314024

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    New weapon against MRSA?...

    Extract from Antarctic Sponge Could Open New Front against MRSA
    May 18, 2016 - Scientists find natural chemical in creature living in frigid Antarctic waters that could kill increasingly prevalent antibiotic-resistant bacteria
    A sponge that thrives in frigid Antarctic waters could provide a powerful new weapon against MRSA, a sometimes fatal infection that has become highly resistant to antibiotics. Scientists from the University of South Florida Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation search the world for natural chemicals with pharmaceutical potential. Center director Bill Baker collected samples of a sponge called Dendrilla membranosa from the Southern Ocean. His team extracted a substance they named darwinolide, modified its chemical composition, and tested it against the bacteria that cause MRSA.


    A sponge called Dendrilla membranosa is found near Palmer Station, Antarctica, and shows promise against MRSA, a sometimes fatal infection highly resistant to antibiotics.

    Writing in the journal Organic Letters, they report that only 1.6 percent of the bacteria survived and grew. MRSA — methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — was once a serious problem only in health care settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. But the infection is now found in locker rooms, gyms and schools. It is especially dangerous because it can cause infections almost anywhere in the body, from the skin to the lungs to the lining of the heart. It has developed resistance to the most powerful antibiotics in the medical arsenal.

    MRSA bacteria, like many other bacteria, form a biofilm around them as a protective shell. Antibiotics have a hard time penetrating that shell to kill the bacteria inside. Darwinolide appears to attack the biofilm. That, say the researchers, suggests "that darwinolide may present a highly suitable scaffold for the development of urgently needed, novel, anti-biofilm-specific antibiotics."

    http://www.voanews.com/content/extra...s/3335539.html

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    Chickens source of new MRSA superbug strain..

    New Strain of 'Superbug' Traced to Chicken
    September 26, 2016 - An international team of scientists has identified a new strain of “superbug” that has made people sick, and it apparently came from chickens.
    The new strain of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, sickened 10 people in Denmark. Researchers traced the staph bacteria, which is resistant to several antibiotics, and can be fatal, to contaminated poultry people handled or ate. Most people don’t acquire MRSA from chickens or other food animals. It’s usually spread in hospitals, through person-to-person contact, where people live and gather in close quarters in the community. While farm workers are at higher risk of becoming ill with staph infections, the new strain was acquired by city dwellers.


    Chickens are seen at a chicken house.

    The latest findings, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, demonstrate that MRSA, which is known to exist in pork, beef and dairy products, can be spread to people through contact with infected animal products. In the study, researchers used genetic analysis to compare the strains of MRSA found in the 10 Danes to staph infection in other people and in livestock. The analysis showed it was exactly the same MRSA strain found in contaminated poultry. The chicken meat was imported from other countries, including France, the Netherlands and Germany. Last week, the United Nations hosted a high level meeting of hundreds of experts on antibiotic resistance to discuss how it will become a global crisis if nothing is done.


    An employee displays MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria strain inside a petri dish containing agar jelly for bacterial culture in a microbiological laboratory in Berlin.

    The participants called for a number of collaborative measures by public and private sectors to ensure the smart use of antibiotics. One of those in attendance was Laura MacCleery, Vice President for Consumer Policy and Mobilization at Consumers Union based in Washington D.C. One of the group’s main concerns is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in livestock, which can make the drugs ineffective and create superbugs like MRSA. “Animals are routinely given sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics because the conditions in which they live are unsanitary,” said MacCleery. While the drugs are designed to keep the food animals healthy and promote their growth, the antibiotics, and the bacteria resistant to them, can be passed along the food chain to humans.


    The U.S. campaign for the smart use of antibiotics parallels similar efforts in Europe and Canada.

    At the U.N. meeting, MacCleery said a number of measures were discussed to reduce antibiotic resistance, not only in animals as a source, but in general. “Drug pricing and availability at a level of provider incentives, those are the kinds of things that governments can do to discourage inappropriate prescribing among physicians, and to educate consumers about the potential risk of antibiotic resistance,” said MacCleery. MacCleery said Consumers Union has been successful in getting a number of fast food chains, including MacDonald’s, to commit to not using chicken that has been treated with antibiotics. Meanwhile, researchers predict there will be a rise in new, more virulent strains of MRSA if antibiotics continue to be used in livestock.

    http://www.voanews.com/a/superbug-tr...e/3525979.html

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    I had MRSA a few years ago and it was pretty brutal - I had abscesses up my entire right leg that were an inch or more deep and drained for several weeks. Very painful. I had to do a nasal spray treatment once my symptoms were gone and then get tested like three times to prove I no longer had the infection. And since I worked in healthcare, I wasn't allowed at work.

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    'Superbugs' Threatening Global Malaria Control...

    Study: 'Superbugs' Threatening Global Malaria Control
    February 01, 2017 | Malaria-resistant "superbugs" are emerging in Southeast Asia, threatening worldwide control efforts, according to the authors of a new study.
    Researchers reporting in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases found that a lineage of the P. falciparum parasite, which causes the most dangerous form of malaria, is now becoming resistant to the most effective malaria drug, and the resistance is spreading. Artemisinin and combination therapies including artemisinin are considered the best possible treatment for malaria. The authors warned that resistance to the drug, and its widely used partner drug, piperaquine, was rapidly spreading throughout western Cambodia, southern Laos and northeastern Thailand.


    A government health worker takes a blood sample from a woman to be tested for malaria in Ta Gay Laung village hall in Hpa-An district in Kayin state, southeastern Myanmar

    The researchers, from Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand, said a global health emergency could occur if multi-drug-resistant parasites spread through India to sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford University professor Nicholas White, a co-author of the study, said public health officials were losing "a dangerous race to eliminate artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria before widespread resistance to partner antimalarials makes that impossible."

    Global perspective urged

    White added that unless resistance was tackled from a global public health emergency perspective, "the consequences of [drug] resistance spreading further ... could be grave." In the Lancet article, researchers reported examining blood samples from patients with so-called uncomplicated malaria from a number of sites in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. They found a single mutant parasite lineage replacing parasites containing less resistant mutations in three of the four countries. "Superbugs," they noted, have evolved to contain multiple factors that make them "fitter and more transmissible."


    Two children stricken with malaria rest at the local hospital in the small village of Walikale, Congo.

    Drug-resistant strains of malaria have spread before from Asia into Africa, killing millions, according to the authors. They called for public health officials to work with policy, research and funding partners to respond to the current threat in Asia "to avoid history repeating itself." Mike Turner, the head of infection and immunology at Wellcome Trust in Britain, which funded the study, predicted that the number of deaths from drug-resistant malaria "will increase to millions of people every year by 2050" if nothing is done to address the current threat. According to the World Health Organization, there were 212 million cases of malaria globally in 2015, resulting in 429,000 deaths. Most of the victims were children in sub-Saharan Africa.

    http://www.voanews.com/a/superbugs-t...l/3702849.html
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    British Scientists: Drug-resistant Malaria Cases ‘A Warning For Africa’
    February 01, 2017 — Four British citizens who caught malaria while travelling in Africa have shown apparent resistance to the main drug used to treat the disease, according to researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Scientists say the discovery should act as a warning for Africa, where the drug has played a key role in sharply reducing mortality rates from malaria.
    The four travellers were treated with a drug called Artemether-Lumefantrine after returning to Britain from different parts of Africa within a five-month period, showing symptoms of malaria. The cases alerted scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, led by Dr. Colin Sutherland. “This drug is normally expected to cure someone after a three-day course and they are sent home once their blood films show that there is [are] virtually no parasites left. And in each case, these patients seemed to have a clear blood film, or very close to a clear blood film, and were sent home with an apparent clean bill of health, only to return three to seven weeks later,” said Dr. Sutherland.

    The drug is part of a treatment known as Artemisinin Combination Therapy or A-C-T, widely used across Africa, where most malaria cases and deaths occur. These are among the first cases of apparent reduced susceptibility to the treatment. “If it is under threat from resistance, and we have not absolutely ascertained that is the case but we suspect it is, [it's] certainly time now to look very carefully at that. If it is under threat, then that is a serious issue and we need to take steps,” said Dr. Sutherland.


    Such steps might involve using other drugs alongside A-C-T. But such a change of strategy takes time, said Sutherland. “Of course a lot of malaria is in the countryside, it is in district hospitals and bush clinics. You can not just say, ‘Let us try a different drug,’ if it is not available at the time. So that requires planning and forethought,” he said.

    Resistance to A-C-T drugs is an ongoing problem in parts of Southeast Asia. But the resistance shown by the malaria parasites in these four cases is unrelated, Sutherland said. “Whatever it is that is happening in Africa, these four patients do not represent the kind of resistance that has become really a quite serious problem in Southeast Asia,” said Dr. Sutherland.

    Chinese scientist Professor Youyou Tu won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of Artemisinin as a treatment for malaria. Its widespread use has contributed to a 30 percent fall in malaria deaths worldwide between 2010 and 2015. Scientists say the latest cases of apparent resistance are a warning, and should be investigated further.

    http://www.voanews.com/a/british-sci...a/3701287.html

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