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New, under-recognized, much more potent variant of common bacterium

University at Buffalo researchers are expressing concern about a new, under-recognized, much more potent variant of a common bacterium that has surfaced in the U.S.

"Historically, in Western countries, classical strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae have caused infections mostly in sick, hospitalized patients whose host defense systems are compromised," says Thomas Russo, MD, professor in the Department of Medicine at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and head of its Infectious Disease Division. A photograph of Russo is here: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13200

"But in the last 10 to 15 years, a new variant of it has begun causing community-acquired infection in young, healthy individuals," he says. "This variant causes serious, life-threatening, invasive infections and is able to spread to other organs from the initial site of infection."

Perhaps most important, says Russo, these hypervirulent strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae have the potential to become highly resistant to antibiotics, similar to Escherichia coli and classical Klebsiella pneumoniae.
 
 

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