Saturday 29 November 2014

Antibiotics trigger super-spreaders

In a new study, Salmonella-infected mice that were given antibiotics became sicker and began shedding far more bacteria in their feces than they had before.

When the scientists gave oral antibiotics to mice infected with Salmonella typhimurium, a small minority -- so called "superspreaders" that had been shedding high numbers of salmonella in their feces for weeks -- remained healthy; they were unaffected by either the disease or the antibiotic. The rest of the mice got sicker instead of better and, oddly, started shedding like superspreaders. The findings point to a reason for superspreaders' ability to remain asymptomatic. They also pose ominous questions about the widespread, routine use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in livestock.

For further details, see:

Smita Gopinath, Joshua S. Lichtman, Donna M. Bouley, Joshua E. Elias, and Denise M. Monack. Role of disease-associated tolerance in infectious superspreaders. PNAS, October 20, 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1409968111

Posted by Tim Sandle

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