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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in the US presents a triple threat

Posted on08 Jan 2020
Researchers from the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center describe the first strain of carbapenem-resistant, hypermucoviscous Klebsiella pneumoniae exhibiting colistin heteroresistance and enhanced virulence isolated from a patient in the United States.

The research is presented at ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, held from June 7th to 11th, in Atlanta, Georgia. In a hospital in Hangzhou, China, a 2016 deadly outbreak of carbapenem-resistant, hypervirulent K. pneumoniae was recently reported in Lancet Infectious Diseases.

"The isolate we are studying is not nearly as virulent (able to cause disease) in a mouse model as the bacteria from China," said Dr. Weiss, "However, finding the combination of antibiotic resistance and enhanced virulence from a clinical isolate in the United States (New York) is still alarming."

The previously reported hypervirulent forms were largely antibiotic susceptible. Carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae, part of the carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) superbug family, is considered an urgent (top 3) threat by the CDC.

The researchers are urging more monitoring for this form of bacteria, which have the potential for increased virulence and may be especially worrisome in healthcare settings. With the rise in antibiotics for a quick fix and use of antibiotics in animal feeds, the prevalence of antibiotics seems widespread from food sources to medical treatments. The only way to counter the dependency on antibiotics is to be more diligent in supplementing with probiotics.

Probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria, while probiotics are good beneficial bacteria. Probiotics help repopulate the good bacteria in the gut. These are the bacteria that keep you healthy. Probiotics can have several benefits. They can alter the pH (acidity) of the gut to allow or prevent the growth of other types of pathogenic bacteria.

Probiotics can directly compete with bad bacteria for nutrients and space, preventing the overgrowth of these bacteria. They can also stimulate the immune system, increasing your ability to defend against any unwanted bad bacteria.
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