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“Superbug spreading undetected”

A superbug resistant to all known antibiotics is spreading undetected through hospital wards across the world, it is claimed.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne discovered three variants of the multidrug-resistant bug in samples from 10 countries, including strains in Europe that cannot be reliably tamed by any drug currently on the market.

Ben Howden, Director of the university’s Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory, said: “We started with samples in Australia but did a global snapshot and found that it’s in many countries and many institutions around the world. It seems to have spread.”

The bacteria, known as “Staphylococcus epidermidis”, is related to the better-known and more deadly MRSA. It’s found naturally on human skin and most commonly infects the elderly, or patients who have had prosthetic materials implanted, such as catheters and joint replacements.

The team looked at hundreds of S. epidermidis specimens from 78 hospitals worldwide. They found some strains of the bug made small DNA changes that led to resistance to the most common antibiotics.

 

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