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Scientists to Study Novel Treatment for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections

The bacteria Enterococcus can cause infections that typically target the digestive tract or bowel; if the bacteria spread, an abdominal abscess or urinary infection could result. Enterococcus also can invade the bloodstream, leading to meningitis, pneumonia or endocarditis ā€” an infection of the heart valve. Typically the only people who become ill from this bacteria are the elderly and those who already have health issues, such as diabetes or chronic kidney failure. Enterococcus infections can be serious in these populations.

The bacteria are resistant to a number of antibiotics, but in the past, physicians were able to effectively treat Enterococcus infections with the drug vancomycin. However, during recent years, Enterococcus has become resistant to vancomycin treatment, and the new strain, known as vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), is resistant to other antibiotics as well. It also is able to transfer its treatment-resistance abilities to unrelated bacteria such as MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
 
 

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