May 28, 2017

New Insights on How Pathogens Escape Immune System

A new study at the University of Cologne is trying to decode how the pathogen Salmonella enterica escapes the immune system. And they found a mechanism the bacteria uses. There were 13,822 reported cases of Salmonella typhimurium in Germany in 2015. In healthy people, most recover without any treatment from antibiotics, but those who are considered "high risk" can suffer serious illness and even death. Those patients include the elderly, the very young, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and those with immune deficiencies. In those high risk patients, the bacteria cause damage to cells and can get into the bloodstream. If this happens, an infection called "sepsis" occurs, which can be life-threatening. Salmonella bacteria escape a process called … [Read more...]

Listeria Monocytogenes Can Hide Inside Lettuce Leaves

A new research study from Purdue University that was published in the Journal of Food Protection has found that Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can hide inside the leaves of romaine lettuce. That suggests that traditional post-harvest sanitation practices "may not be sufficient to kill the potentially lethal pathogen." The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to recalled Dole salads last year was the sixth largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2016. That was the first Listeria outbreak linked to leafy greens, although that type of produce is  the most common culprit in food poisoning outbreak according to a National Institutes of Health study. Other Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning outbreaks have been linked to celery, cantaloupe, raw sprouts, and apples. In that … [Read more...]

Researchers Find One Mechanism for Antibiotic Resistance

A study conducted at Harvard and MIT and published in the journal eLife has discovered one way that bacteria become resistant to drugs. Individual mutations that increase pathogenic bacteria's resistance to multiple antibiotics has not been fully explored. About 23,000 Americans die every year from bacterial and fungal infections that are resistant to antibiotics. That number is expected to increase to 10,000,000 by the year 2050 if new, effective antibiotics are not developed. Scientist cultured the bacteria Mycobacterium smegmatis, a cousin of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. The scientists grew the bacteria until they formed colonies, and then exposed the colonies to low doses of antibiotics that killed the bacteria slowly. Mutant colonies arose after that … [Read more...]

UK Experts Urge Shoppers to Wash Hands After Handling Chicken Packages

We all know that raw chicken can contain pathogenic bacteria such as Campylobacter and Salmonella. But experts were more concerned with the bacteria on the inside of the basic plastic supermarket wrapping. Now experts in the UK are warning shoppers to wash their hands after handling these packages, since the bacteria could also be on the outside. An investigation by the Daily Telegraph found that the plastic exterior of more than 1 in every 100 raw chickens sold in Britain may have a potentially infectious level of Campylobacter bacteria. That means that 9,000,000 packages of chicken are sold with a "dangerous dose of deadly bacteria on the outside." When a shopper picks up a package of chicken, then snacks on food while shopping, they could get sick. Campylobacter is the leading … [Read more...]

Cornell Develops Processor to Destroy Pathogens in Food

Cornell food scientists have developed a new high pressure food processor to destroy food pathogens. This is the nation's first commercial scale validation facility for a technology that kills bacteria and extends the shelf life of fresh, ready to eat foods. It can be used on juice, baby foods, meats, and salads. The device is a Hiperbaric 55 high-pressure food processor at Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. It works by surrounding completed ready to eat foods in their packages with water. The machine applies isostatic pressure up to 87,000 pounds per square inch. According to Cornell, "that's more than six times the pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean trench on Earth." More and more consumers want fresh, packaged, ready to eat … [Read more...]

Listeria May be Serious Miscarriage Threat in Early Pregnancy

New research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published in the journal mBio has found that Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning can be a serious miscarriage threat in early pregnancy. Scientists at the university's school of veterinary medicine studied how pathogens affect fetal development and change pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Ted Golos, a UW-Maidson reproductive physiologist and professor of comparative biosciences and obstetrics and gynecology said, "for many years, Listeria has been associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy, but particularly at the end of pregnancy. What wasn’t known with much clarity before this study is that it appears it’s a severe risk factor in early pregnancy. It's striking that mom doesn't get particularly ill from Listeria infection, … [Read more...]

Research Finds Salmonella Food Poisoning Could Damage DNA

Research at Cornell University has found that Salmonella food poisoning caused by some serotypes of the pathogenic bacteria could permanently damage your DNA. The study is published in the journal mBio by the American Society for Microbiology as "The Cytolethal Distending Toxin Produced by Nontyphoidal Salmonella Serotypes Javiana, Montevideo, Oranienburg, and Mississippi Induces DNA Damage in a Manner Similar to That of Serotype Typhi." Dr. Rachel Miller, author of the study, said, "not all Salmonella serotypes are equal." There are more than 2,500 serotypes for Salmonella, but fewer than 100 of those cause most of the food poisoning cases in this country, according to the CDC. Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses every year in the U.S>, and kills about 450 … [Read more...]

Scientists Kill Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria with Brute Force

New research at University College London (UCL) has found that antibiotics can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria with brute force. The study was published in Nature Scientific Reports. In order to kill bacteria, antibiotics have to bind to the cells in the pathogens. Bacterial resistance can be caused by molecular changes to the surface of the bacteria. Dr. Joseph Ndieyira of UCL Medicine said, "Antibiotics have 'keys' that fit 'locks' on bacterial cell surfaces, allowing them to latch on. When a bacterium becomes resistant to a drug, it effectively changes the locks so the key won't fit any more. Incredibly, we found that certain antibiotics can still 'force' the lock, allowing them to bind to and kill resistant bacteria because they are able to push hard enough. In fact, some … [Read more...]

OSU Scientists Make Progress in Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria War

Scientists at Oregon State University have made progress in the war against antibiotic resistant bacteria. More and more pathogenic bacteria are developing resistance against antibiotics, even our last-ditch drugs. Researchers have found that a molecule can neutralize bacteria's ability to become resistant to antibiotics. The study was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. This study is very important, since in September 2016, a woman in Nevada died from a bacterial infection that resisted every type of antibiotic we have in our arsenal. The death was reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week. Scientists think that antibiotic-resistant bacteria will kill 10 million people by 2050. The molecule that the scientists at OSU constructed is … [Read more...]

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Reproduce Faster

A paper in the January 2017 edition of Nature Ecology & Evolution states that antibiotic-resistant bacteria grow faster and more efficiently than those that are not resistant to antibiotics. That is bad news in the fight against this deadly threat. Antibiotic resistant bacteria develop when the organisms are exposed to antibiotics. The drugs kill most of the bacteria, but some survive. And those that survive develop resistance to the drugs. Worse, they can pass that resistance on to other bacteria. The scientist from the University of Exeter were studying how E. coli bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. In the study, they exposed the bacteria to doxycycline, a common antibiotic for treating infections. The bacteria quickly developed mutations for doxycycline … [Read more...]

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