Nav: Home

US 'super bugs' invading South America, according to UT Medical School at Houston researchers

November 12, 2008

Two clones of highly antibiotic-resistant organism strains, which previously had only been identified in the United States, are now causing serious sickness and death in several Colombian cities including the capital Bogotá, say researchers at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. The study, done in collaboration with Universidad El Bosque in Bogotá, is presented in a research letter published in the Nov. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

U.S. clones of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VREF) have emerged in communities across Colombia. The variation of the MRSA clone, referred to as the USA 300, has been previously reported to be the most important cause of severe skin and soft tissue infections in the United States. The VREF clone is genetically related to a strain that hit a Houston hospital in 1994.

In Colombia before 2005, there were no recorded cases of any community-associated MRSA infections, including USA 300 MRSA. In 2005, there were two: one in Bogotá and one in the city of Villavicencio. Now the number of MRSA infections is climbing across the country. The paper reports a total of 15 infections, some of which were documented in two additional cities between 2006 and 2007, said Cesar A. Arias, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases at the UT Medical School at Houston.

The first case of VREF was reported in Bogotá in 2001. Since then, 50 additional cases have been identified at seven hospitals.

"We are tracking and recording these cases to find the link between the U.S. and Colombia. The goal is to find out why and how these organisms got there. With this information, researchers hope to better understand the molecular epidemiology of these super bugs to understand how they spread and how to control them," Arias said. "The UT Medical School will continue to work with Latin American academic institutions to learn more about these antibiotic-resistant organisms."

All patients diagnosed with community-associated MRSA infections suffered severe skin and soft-tissue infections. Some patients also experienced death of tissue surrounding bones, bacteria in the bloodstream and meningitis, and 20 percent of the patients died. The MRSA infections were treatable with common antistaphylococcal antibiotics, although 40 percent were resistant to tetracycline.

Arias added that the USA 300 clone of MRSA has not only been found in Colombia. In a recent presentation at the annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and Infectious Disease Society of America in Washington, D.C., Arias shared the news that this clone has been recorded in multiple patients in Ecuador and Venezuela.
-end-
Other research personnel at the UT Medical School included: Shahreen Chowdhury, Sreedhar R. Nallapareddy, Ph.D. and Barbara E. Murray, M.D. The research was funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Related Mrsa Articles:

Common antimicrobials help patients recover from MRSA abscesses
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria are resistant to multiple antibiotics and commonly cause skin infections that can lead to serious or life-threatening infection in other parts of the body.
Fighting MRSA with new membrane-busting compounds
Public health officials are increasingly concerned over methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Know thy enemy: Kill MRSA with tailored chemistry
UConn medicinal chemists have developed experimental antibiotics that kill MRSA, a common and often deadly bacteria that causes skin, lung, and heart infections.
MRSA uses decoys to evade a last-resort antibiotic
The superbug MRSA uses decoys to evade a last-resort antibiotic, reveals new research.
Scientists find a salty way to kill MRSA
Scientists have discovered a new way to attack Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
Experimental antibiotic treats deadly MRSA infection
A new experimental antibiotic developed by a team of scientists at Rutgers University successfully treats the deadly MRSA infection and restores the efficacy of a commonly prescribed antibiotic that has become ineffective against MRSA.
OU team develops new antibiotic to fight MRSA
A University of Oklahoma team of chemists has developed a new antibiotic formulation to fight the sometimes deadly staph infection caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus or MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant infectious bacteria.
Compounds restore antibiotics' efficacy against MRSA
Antibiotics rendered useless by the notorious methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, (MRSA) may get a second life, thanks to compounds that can restore the bug's susceptibility to antibiotics, according to a new study in mice.
Copper destroys MRSA at a touch
New research from the University of Southampton shows that copper can destroy MRSA spread by touching and fingertip contamination of surfaces.
New method to treat antibiotic resistant MRSA: Bacteriophages
BYU senior molecular biology major Jacob Hatch knows MRSA as the infection that took his dad's leg.

Related Mrsa Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...