Zika Reference Strain Sequenced--Will Aid in Diagnosis, Screening

Washington, DC - September 1, 2016 - An international team of researchers has sequenced a strain of the Zika virus that will be used as a World Health Organization (WHO) reference strain to identify Zika virus infection in the blood, thus making it easier to diagnose the disease. While the reference material will undergo formal WHO review in October, the agency has given the go-ahead for the strain’s use given the urgent need of medical products to diagnose and treat Zika. The sequence is published September 1st in Genome Announcements, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

ICU Patients Lose Helpful Gut Bacteria within Days of Hospital Admission

Washington, DC – August 31, 2016 – The microbiome of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital differs dramatically from that of healthy patients, according to a new study published in mSphere. Researchers analyzing microbial taxa in ICU patients' guts, mouth and skin reported finding dysbiosis, or a bacterial imbalance, that worsened during a patient's stay in the hospital. Compared to healthy people, ICU patients had depleted populations of commensal, health-promoting microbes and higher counts of bacterial taxa with pathogenic strains – leaving patients vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections that may lead to sepsis, organ failure and potentially death.

Researchers Identify Multidrug-resistant E. coli Bacteria from New Jersey Patient

Washington, DC – August 29, 2016 – New Jersey researchers have identified what is believed to be the first strain of Escherichia coli bacteria from a patient in the United States that harbored two mobile genes making it resistant to both broad spectrum carbapenem antibiotics as well as colistin, an older antibiotic increasingly used as a last resort for multidrug-resistant infections. Their report is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Bacteria in Smokeless Tobacco Products May be a Health Concern

Washington, DC - August 26, 2016 - Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 25 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Improving Food Quality by Studying the Microbial Composition of Raw Milk

Washington, DC – August 23, 2016 –Findings from a new study, reported in the journal mBio, may help food companies improve the quality of dairy products. The researchers have discovered that bacteria in raw milk arriving at dairy processing facilities are highly diverse and differ according to season, but still contain a core microbiota.

New Zika Clone Could be New Model for Developing Vaccine

Washington, DC – August 23, 2016 – Stopping the explosive spread of Zika virus – which can lead to birth defects in babies born to infected mothers – depends on genetic insights gleaned through new tools and models. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recently cloned an epidemic strain of the virus, creating a model that can help biologists develop and test strategies for stopping the pandemic.

Antibiotic Resistant E. coli Found In Drinking Water

Washington, DC – August 22, 2016 – Antibiotic resistant E. coli has been found in multiple drinking water supplies in France. The resistance counters the critically important cephalosporin antibiotics. The findings highlight the presence of expanding reservoirs of these resistance genes, including reservoirs in the environment. The research is published August 22 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Investigators Map Genomes of Three Historically Important Zika Strains

Washington, DC - August 18, 2016 - A team of researchers from Utah State University, Logan, has characterized the consensus genome sequences of three historically important Zika virus strains. This work is an important step towards developing antiviral therapeutic and preventive strategies against Zika, and related viruses. The research is published August 18 in Genome Announcements, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Fungus Causing Fatal Infections in Hospitalized Patients Has Unique Growth Patterns

Washington, DC – August 17, 2016 – The multidrug-resistant yeast Candida auris, which has caused fatal infections in some hospitalized patients, has at least two different growth patterns and some of its strains are as capable of causing disease as the most invasive type of yeast called Candida albicans, according to a study published this week in mSphere, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology.

For the First Time, Researchers Identify the Secret Genetic Weapon of Clostridium difficile

Washington, DC – August 16, 2016 – A trio of researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health in Houston, have identified the location of the genes that control production of toxins that harm people infected by Clostridium difficile bacteria. The gene locus, agr1, forms part of a signaling communication system that produces a small molecule that, in turn, tells the rest of the population to turn on their toxin genes.

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