Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Evolution of staph 'superbug' traced between humans and food animals

21.02.2012
A strain of the potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacterium known as MRSA has jumped from food animals to humans, according to a new study involving two Northern Arizona University researchers.
Paul Keim, Regents’ professor and director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, and Lance Price, NAU faculty member and director of the Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, collaborated with scientists at 20 institutions around the world on the study published today in the online journal mBio.

The TGen-led research utilized whole genome sequencing to study 89 genomes from humans and animals — including turkeys, chickens and pigs — with samples from 19 countries on four continents.

The research focused on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398, also known as pig MRSA or livestock-associated MRSA because it most often infects people with direct exposure to swine or other food animals. It is likely that MRSA CC398 started as an antibiotic-susceptible strain in humans before it jumped to food animals.

After transferring to food animals, MRSA CC398 became resistant to two important antibiotics, tetracycline and methicillin, which are used for treating staph infections. The resistance likely is a result of the routine antibiotic use that characterizes modern food-animal production. The animals commonly are given antibiotics to prevent infection and promote growth.

Keim, who also serves as director of TGen’s Pathogenic Genomics Division, said the study describes evolution in action. "The most powerful force in evolution is selection. And in this case, humans have supplied a strong force through the excessive use of antibiotic drugs in farm animal production. It is that inappropriate use of antibiotics that is now coming back to haunt us.”

Price, the study’s lead author, said the research was “like watching the birth of a superbug—it is simultaneously fascinating and disconcerting.” He said that while this strain of MRSA was discovered less than a decade ago it appears to be spreading very quickly.

“Our findings underscore the potential public health risks of widespread antibiotic use in food animal production,” Price said. “Staph thrives in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Add antibiotics to that environment and you’re going to create a public health problem.”

CONTACTS:

Cynthia Brown
NAU Office of Public Affairs
928-523-0611
cynthia.brown@nau.edu
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
602-343-8704
syozwiak@tgen.org

Cynthia Brown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nau.edu

Further reports about: Evolution MRSA antibiotic drug antibiotic use public health

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

nachricht Stiffness matters
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>