A bacterium called Staphylococcus epidermidis is currently home on your skin. Do not panic – it's on all of us…
A bacterium called Staphylococcus epidermidis is currently home on your skin. Do not panic – it’s on all of us – and usually it’s not an emergency call.
But because it is so common, medical care providers have a view of their dark side – one that can be fatal if it learns to avoid most antibiotics and new research suggests that we seriously should pay much more attention .
Researchers from Milner Center for Evolution at the University of Bath have discovered more than 60 genes that can make this rather innocent microbiella citizen a tenant from hell.
” Staphylococcus epidermidis is a fatal pathogen in common vision,” said the study’s leading researcher, Sam Sheppard.
Most people are quite familiar with the cousin of this bacterium Staphylococcus aureus commonly called golden staph.
Golden staph also lives on our body without making much of an essence. But if it happens that it causes infection, it can be fatal for up to a third of patients within a year.
Antibiotics are optional weapons under these circumstances, but some strains of golden staph have developed pathways
But Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus ̵
1; or MRSA – is just a superbug that gets a lot of pressure on these days.
Other emerging strains, such as some types of Klebsiella pneumoniae are less common but grab headings as they make common infections to life-threatening conditions.
S. epidermidis is not categorized as these other pathogens. It’s literally inevitable, so it slides under the radar.
“It has always been clinically ignored because it has often been assumed that it was a laboratory laboratory contamination or it was simply accepted as a known risk of surgery,” sheppard says.
Infections may be par-for-the-course after an operation but to note which common microbes that have the potential to escalate health problems could make all the difference for some.
“If we can identify who are most vulnerable to infection, we can target these patients to additional hygiene measures before they undergo surgery.”
The risk is not just related to self-assessment in the matter. S. epidermidis is so common to have large numbers of bacteria in one place making it easy for genes to jump between individuals as phone numbers in a nightclub.
If these genes happen to bear the formula for some form of antibiotic resistance, it will do not take long time for this infection of horticultural crops to be a problem for the entire hospital.
“If we do not do anything to check this there is a risk that these disease-causing genes can spread to a greater extent, meaning post -operative antibiotic-resistant infections can become even more common, says Sheppard.
In the study, researchers analyzed more than 400 isolates consisting of samples of S. epidermidis including a speech taken from healthy volunteers and surgical patients. The result was an evaluation of their overall pathogenicity according to genetic elements called k-mers, which could help with infection.
Up to 61 genes containing k-mers that can help give a single infection enough an edge to cause major problems.
These ranged from having the ability to make better “microbial glue” for hard-to-throw biofilms, to increase toxic compounds or to make the bugs resistant to Staph-maturing antibiotics, methicillin.
Knowing more about these kinds of genetic traits can help pathologists better identify problematic infections and help doctors to develop a better action if people get infected.
Right now, more work must be done simply to identify what would be the dangerous strains from an inevitable laboratory contamination.
Researcher Dietrich Mack from Life Sciences Institute of Medical Diagnostics GmbH, Germany, is aware of the problems that may occur if any infection fails as something more innocent.
“These infections are difficult to diagnose and there is hope that disease-related genes can help distinguish themselves from harmless skin isolates from disease-inducing S. epidermidis strains in the clinical laboratory,” said Mack.
“This must be addressed in future studies.”
This research was published in Nature Communications .