A highly infectious and deadly superbug, a bacterium resistant to all known antibiotics, is now spreading across hospitals all over the world, a new study conducted by the University of Melbourne in Australia revealed today, September 3rd.
The scientists found three strains of this multidrug-resistant bug after analyzing samples from more than ten countries across the world. One strain, in particular, was discovered in Europe and any known antibiotics can’t kill it.
“We started with samples in Australia but did a global snapshot and found that it’s in many countries and many institutions around the world,” said Ben Howden from the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory of the University of Melbourne.
This superbug, known as Staphylococcus epidermidis, is a distant cousin of the more deadly MSRA, and it’s naturally found on human skin, and it’s usually infecting older adults with prosthetic materials implanted.
This superbug can be deadly
“It can be deadly, but it’s usually in patients who already are very sick in the hospital. It can be quite hard to eradicate, and the infections can be severe,” Howden added.
The researchers also revealed that the most resistant strains of this superbug had its DNA mutated to resist to two of the most common antibiotics.
“These two antibiotics are unrelated, and you would not expect one mutation to cause both antibiotics to fail,” said Jean Lee, the study’s co-author, and a Ph.D. student at the University of Melbourne.
According to the new study, Staphylococcus epidermidis superbug spread so rapidly due to the increasing use of antibiotics in hospitals, especially in intensive care units where more powerful drugs are administered as routine.
“With all bacteria in a hospital environment we are driving more resistant strains, and there’s no doubt that antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest dangers to hospital care worldwide,” Ben Howden concluded.