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SCI/TECH: Evolution Before Our Eyes: Super Bacteria

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posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 07:06 AM
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NYT: A story in today's New York Times outlines how once normal staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) is evolving quickly into stronger strains resistant to normal antibiotics. These new strong staph strains, normally effecting the sick in hospitals, are now being seen in healthy people who have not visited healthcare facilities.
 
www.NYTimes.com One doctor treated a high school football player "built like Charles Atlas" with a standard oral antibiotic for a little boil in the groin. Even though the teenager was the picture of health, the antibiotic did not work. The boil, caused by resistant staph, grew into an large abscess tracking into the leg, and the patient got sicker and sicker. Only when Dr. Gullett treated him with an intravenous antibiotic generally reserved for desperately ill hospitalized patients did he turn the corner. Evolved and resistant staph has long been a concern of physicians treating patients in hospitals. As stronger and stronger antibiotics are required to help patients recover, the bacteria adapts and evolves to live and fight another day. Related News: Superbug Deaths Surged in Past Decade, Government Report Says




posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 07:33 AM
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You can blame anti-bacterial products and the masses of anti-biotics given to cattle for this.

If people would actually stop sanitizing everything around them, we just may not be so weak against infection...



posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 07:41 AM
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Not too mention overuse of antibiotics as a likely cause in this, too. I didn't see a mention of that in the article.

It's scary though.



posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 07:56 AM
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It's micro evolution. Just as the humans can fight off colds and our body eventually is able to deal witht he virus, the virus can evolve and make it harder for us to deal with it.

But that virus wont start growing any limbs ;P



posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 08:03 AM
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Actually... no, it's evolution. The entire organism (relative to itself) is evolving. Bacteria are simple, form them to evolve resistance to anti-bacterial agents is like us evolving a resistance to fire.



posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 08:13 AM
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Well, yes, Skeptic.

But this evolution is helped in part by the use, or overuse of antibiotics, don't you think?
Survival of the fittest for bacteria, I suppose. Those bacteria that have a certain weakness or trait will be killed off by the antibiotics, allowing those with variant traits to survive, mulitply, thus becoming dominant.



posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 08:28 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Actually... no, it's evolution. The entire organism (relative to itself) is evolving. Bacteria are simple, form them to evolve resistance to anti-bacterial agents is like us evolving a resistance to fire.


There wouldn't be a reason for them to evolve if there wasn't so much out to get them so to speak. If anti-biotics and anti-bacterial products weren't so abundant or didn't exist at all. They wouldn't be evolving into super strains so fast. If at all. The only things they wouldn have to evolve off of would be a creatures immune system...



posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 01:24 PM
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I would think the main reason would be people not finishing their course of anti-biotics aswell.

If you are treating an infection with antibiotics, but near the end of your course you decide to stop or just forget, there is a slim chance that a couple of bacteria could have survived the attack, however slim. Then there is a chance that the bacteria will develop immunity or strong resistance against that anti-biotic. That bacteria strain the survived will then multiply with the new immunity. Again very slim, so the overall chance is very low, but it still happens.



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