Some antibiotics may worsen MRSANov122015

MRSA 18137_loresA new study published in Cell Host & Microbe found that treating MRSA with certain first-line antibiotics can make MRSA infections worse.

The research team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California  found that in laboratory mice, treatment with antibiotics called beta-lactams – which are similar to methicillin – caused the MRSA bacteria to build inflammatory cell walls that damage tissues. Beta-lactam antibiotics kill normal staph by neutralizing their enzymes that make cell walls.

However, the researchers found that one of these enzymes – called PBP2A – is not neutralized by the antibiotics. Furthermore, PBP2A actually enables the superbug to continue building its cell wall.

They also found that the cell wall’s structure is different from normal staph, which allows the superbug to proliferate. Co-senior author David Underhill, PhD, further explains:

“This altered cell wall induces a powerful inflammatory response. In mice infected with MRSA, induction of PBP2A with methicillin led to more inflammation and pathology.”

The researchers say their take-home message from all of this is that, after introducing the antibiotics to the MRSA-infected mice, they became even sicker.

Still, the researchers warn that because their findings are based on studies involving laboratory mice, their results need to be carefully assessed in humans.

Read the full article on Medical News Today

The journal article can be found in:
Cell Host & Microbe, Volume 18, Issue 5, 11 November 2015, Pages 604-612
Sabrina Müller, Andrea J. Wolf, Iliyan D. Iliev, Bethany L. Berg, David M. Underhill, George Y. Liu
Poorly Cross-Linked Peptidoglycan in MRSA Due to mecA Induction Activates the Inflammasome and Exacerbates Immunopathology


NY Microbiome ExhibitionNov062015

An immune cell on the attack against a swarm of disease-causing Staphylococcus bacteria.Taking a Christmas vacation to New York? Be sure to take your kids to see The Secret World Inside You, an exhibition of the human microbiome at the American Museum of Natural History.

You can read the full story about the exhibition on the New York Times website.


Canada Communicable Disease Report: Enteric outbreak surveillance in British ColumbiaNov062015

A paper on Enteric outbreak surveillance in British Columbia, 2009-2013 has been published in the latest CCDR; the co-authors are from the BC Centre for Disease Control; School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia; Vancouver Coastal Health Authority; Fraser Health Authority; Interior Health Authority; Vancouver Island Health Authority; and Northern Health Authority.

You can read the full article here.


Technology award: cellphone sanitizer for hospitalsNov052015

A group of Queen’s University graduates won a major innovation prize for a device designed to decontaminate personal electronic devices.

cleanslate1The CleanSlate company, which was named one of 11 winners of the 43North entrepreneur and startup awards, won more than $650,000 (US$500,000).

The CleanSlate technology uses ultraviolet light to clean the surfaces of cellphones, tablets and medical devices. It is meant to kill bacteria that have developed resistance to traditional treatment, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), “superbugs that hospitals are very concerned about because they are difficult to eradicate and they are very difficult to treat once somebody is infected,” said Queen’s political science graduate Taylor Mann, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

“One of the things that got us onto this idea, that sparked our focus on health care, was that at Kingston General, for example, you can’t bring a cellphones or tablets into the neonatal intensive care unit or the intensive care unit. One of the key reasons for that is they are incredibly dirty,” he said.

You can read the full article on the CBC website.