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Nasty 'superbug' is being studied by UB researchers
Date:2/17/2012

s hypervirulent variant of Klebsiella pneumoniae was identified in an otherwise healthy, young person several years ago. The patient, who was in his 20s, was hospitalized for several months before making a full recovery. Similar cases are causing concern throughout the international infectious disease community.

At the moment, most cases of hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae resolve if treated aggressively with antibiotics and drainage of abscesses; however, some infections, despite optimal treatment, result in a persistent morbidity or death, Russo says.

He notes that the potential for the bug to acquire drug resistance is adding a sense of urgency to the research.

Russo says that microbiology labs should be aware that an important characteristic of these hypervirulent strains (also known as hypermucoviscous strains) is that when bacterial colonies grown on a solid surface in the laboratory are stretched by a common microbiology tool, called an inoculation loop, they form a viscous "string" greater than 5 millimeters in length.

Russo's team at UB is now beginning to develop a clearer picture of this formidable bacterial opponent.

In November, he and his colleagues published a PLoS ONE paper that showed that hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae acquires iron more efficiently than the usual strains of K. pneumoniae.

"With the NIH grant, we hope to further elucidate the precise details of the bacterial factors that are responsible for hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae acquiring iron so much more efficiently," he says. "The goal of this line of research is that these iron-acquisition factors possessed by hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae will then lend themselves as therapeutic or vaccine targets so that we can better treat or prevent infection."


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Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
716-645-4605
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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