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UTHealth Discovers Dangerous New Superbug

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

In a world awash with germ killing antibiotics evolving bacteria are learning to beat them.

"The cause of all antibiotic resistance is antibiotics," said Dr. Jefferey Starke whose in charge of minimizing infection at Texas Children's Hospital.

And that over use has led to the emergence of so-called "superbugs" - bacterial infections for which medicine has few if any answers.

The worstof these bacterial infections have already claimed tens of thousands of lives

At the UTHealth Medical School Dr. Cesar Arias and his colleagues have discovered a new form of the super-bug "MRSA" - a strain of staph bacteria fully immune to the once powerful antibiotic Vancomycin.

"All the antibiotics we used to treat this we can't do anymore," said Arias.

The Brazilian man in which the variant was discovered did not survive.

"I want to emphasize this is only one patient. There is no evidence that it has disseminated or anything," said Arias.

Unlike other superbugs, which are most often acquired in hospitals, this drug resistant staph bacteria was transmitted within a general population outside a medical environment.

That's important because in the past closely related forms of this new and more dangerous staph infection have spread rapidly through skin to skin contact.

"From the public health point of view it is scary that a community associated superbug acquires resistance to antibiotics," said Arias.

The discovery by Arias and UTHealth colleagues is featured in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and underscores the need to limit the antibiotics we do have and rapidly develop those we don't.

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