Transformation of Common Hospital Bacterium into a “Superbug”
The news source is Medical News Today and the study was conducted by Monash University School of Biomedical Sciences.
A new study was conducted which uncovered how a common hospital bacterium transforms into a deadly superbug killing hospital patients worldwide.
Clostridium difficile is a species of Gram-positive bacteria that causes diarrhea and other intestinal problems when competing bacteria in the flora found in the gastrointestinal tract have been eliminated by the antibiotics used in a certain treatment.
In the study, the researchers associated a naturally occurring mutation in the microorganism to severe and debilitating diarrhea patients in the aforementioned hospital who were undergoing antibiotic therapy. The findings indicate that bacterial strains with this mutation can potentially produce more of the harmful toxins that cause disease in susceptible individuals, mainly patients 65 years or older.
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According to the researchers, the mutation in the microorganism causes changes in the anti-sigma factor of the body, thus, producing more virulent strains of C. difficile that are resistant to antibiotics and which cost the health care in the U.S. to an estimated $3.2 billion each year. They also added that the new discovery will help design new strategies to prevent, control and treat the said infections.