Home > Pestilence > ‘We Are Just Looking At The Beginning Of An Epidemic’: Drug-Resistant Staph Infections in Europe Could Mark Start of World’s Next Pandemic

‘We Are Just Looking At The Beginning Of An Epidemic’: Drug-Resistant Staph Infections in Europe Could Mark Start of World’s Next Pandemic


By Robin Lloyd – “FLAGSTAFF, Arizona—A relatively new type of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus could represent the world’s next bacterial epidemic, an environmental health expert said here today at a conference for science writers.

The superbug, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain 398, or MRSA ST398, was first identified in an infant in the Netherlands in 1994 and traced back to her family’s pigs. Now, researchers are starting to see more serious infections and some of the cases reveal no direct link to livestock, said Lance B. Price, director of the Center for Microbiomics and Human Health at The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), in Flagstaff.

‘The rate of human [ST398] infections is going up in Denmark and the Netherlands,’ Price said. ‘We are just looking at the beginning of an epidemic.’ Price made his comments during a presentation at the 49th annual New Horizons in Science meeting, organized by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

The mechanism for transmission in these newer ST398 cases currently is unknown. Researchers are considering various explanations including human-to-human exposure, contaminated meat or changes in the organism that make it spread more easily, Price said. Already, ST398 was recently found in about half of the pigs and farmers tested in Iowa.” Read more.

The Genesis of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus – “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has captured national headlines. In the fall of 2007, the CDC (Center for Disease Control in Atlanta) reported that deaths due to MRSA were greater than those caused by AIDS. MRSA is rapidly becoming one of the most prevalent and menacing diseases of our time and increases the risk of time spent in a hospital. MRSA are bacteria that represent “new” strains of antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus (Figure 1). Although the media discusses MRSA as a single new strain, in reality MRSA represents more than 1100 distinct strains of S. aureus (Wim and Neeling 2005). S. aureus causes many diseases, including skin boils, infection of leg ulcers, and pressure sores. Occasionally, it can cause more serious disorders such as blood poisoning (septicemia), pneumonia, or bone, joint, or heart valve infection. What makes MRSA bacteria deadly is their resistance to penicillin and its derivatives.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence
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