A study of how the immune system reacts to strains of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria--emerging strains that sicken otherwise healthy people, or so-called "community-acquired" infections--has shown for the first time that these strains are more deadly and better at evading human immune defenses than more common S. aureus strains that originate in hospitals and other health-care settings.
In a paper released today online in The Journal of Immunology, scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, describe how community-acquired S. aureus strains that survive treatment with the methicillin family of antibiotics can evade immune defenses. Infections from community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA, are difficult to treat and are increasing nationally at an alarming rate, say experts.
Scientists at NIAIDs Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, MT, and colleagues examined the ability of MRSA strains to cause disease in mice and avoid destruction by human white blood cells called neutrophils. Neutrophils, which typically ingest and then kill harmful bacteria, make up about 60 percent of all white blood cells and are the first line of defense against bacteria. Scientists know that community-acquired strains differ from hospital strains, but they dont know why the community strains cause more serious infection in otherwise healthy people.
Ken Pekoc | EurekAlert!
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