MRSA superbug gene clue found

2012-04-23 11:10
Paris - Asian outbreaks of a notorious antibiotic-resistant super-germ are being driven by a gene that helps the bug colonise the nostrils, lungs and skin and evade the immune defences, scientists said on Sunday.

So-called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major worry for hospitals because of its ability to hole up in wounds, tubes and surgical devices, infecting patients whose immune system is already weak.

MRSA outbreaks happen in waves as new strains of the bacterium take over from older configurations.

But how these epidemics become established is a process that genetically has until now been unclear.

Reporting in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers in the US and China say they found the key gene, sasX, in samples taken from 807 patients who had been treated for S aureus in three Chinese hospitals over the past 10 years.

Once extremely rare, sasX became more and more common, nearly doubling in frequency from 21% of samples in 2003 to 39% in 2011, they found.

At present, sasX is prominent in Asian strains of MRSA that have been detected, but it is likely to spread beyond the region, according to the report.

The gene is located in a so-called mobile genetic element, meaning that it is in a segment of DNA that can easily transfer from an old strain to a new one.

However, sasX "is a promising target" for drugs or vaccines, says the study, led by Michael Otto of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Niaid).
Read more on:    health  |  research

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.