Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology

November 11, 2002

Household disinfectant potential cause of antibiotic resistance

Researchers from Midwestern University in Illinois, Curtin University of Technology in Australia, and Illinois State University have found that when bacteria become resistant to pine oil cleaners (POC), a common household disinfectant, they may also be resistant to some antibiotics. Their findings appear in the November 2002 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

In the study, POC-resistant Staphylococcus aureus were found to also be resistant to the antibiotics, vancomycin and oxacillin. Further testing suggests that the same genetic mechanism may be responsible for both types of resistance.

"These results add to a growing body of reports suggesting that common disinfectants can select for bacteria with reduced susceptibilities to antibiotics," say the researchers.

(C.T.D. Price, V.K. Singh, R.K. Jayaswal, B.J. Wilkinson, J.E. Gustafson. 2002. Pine oil cleaner-resistant staphylococcus aureus: reduced susceptibility to vancomycin and oxacillin and involvement of SigB. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68. 11: 5417-5421.)

Bacterial infection possible cause of liver disease

A bacterial infection could be responsible for some cases of chronic liver disease, say researchers from Estonia and Sweden in the November 2002 issue of the journal Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology.

In the study, researchers compared levels of antibodies against Helicobacter bacteria (the acid tolerant family of bacteria responsible for most peptic ulcers) in patients with chronic liver disease to a random sample from the general public. The patients with liver disease had significantly higher antibodies to at least two species of Helicobacter bacteria.

"Bile-tolerant Helicobacter species such as Helicobacter pullorum, Helicobacter bilis, and Helicobacter hepaticus are associated with hepatic disorders in animals and may be involved in the pathogenesis of chronic liver diseases in humans," say the researchers.

(O. Ananieva, I. Nilsson, T. Vorobjova, R. Uibo and T. Wadstrom. 2002. Immune responses to bile-tolerant Helicobacter species in patients with chronic liver diseases, a randomized population group, and healthy blood donors. Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology, 9: 1160-1164.)

Existing antiviral potential treatment for smallpox

A drug currently licensed for treatment of an opportunistic infection in AIDS patients may be an effective treatment against smallpox, say researchers from the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Belgium and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Their findings appear in the November 2002 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

In the study, the researchers tested the effectiveness of a variety of drugs on their ability to prevent replication of vaccinia virus, a distant relative of smallpox that is used in the current smallpox vaccine. One antiviral drug, cidofovir, that has already been approved for other treatments, appeared to be highly active against poxvirus infection.

"Cidofovir, which is on the market for treatment of human cytomegalovirus retinitis in immunocompromised patients, is potentially a good candidate for the treatment of a poxvirus outbreak, in the absence of any vaccination," say the researchers.

(R. Snoeck, A. Holy, C. Dewolf-peeters, J. Van Den Oord, E. De Clercq, and G. Andrei. 2002. Antivaccinia activities of acyclic nucleoside phosphonate derivatives in epithelial cells and organotypic cultures. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 46: 3356-3361.)
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American Society for Microbiology

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