Australian scientists have raised the alarm about the spread of multi-drug resistant germs around the world (Nature Microbiology, Sept. 3, 2018). Staphylococcus epidermidis are bacteria that commonly live on human skin, amongst many other microbial denizens. Such normal skin residents don’t usually cause trouble unless the ecological balance of the skin microbiota becomes disturbed.
Drug Resistant Germs on Skin:
The researchers identified three different strains of S. epidermidis that are not susceptible to any known antibiotic, however. These bugs may not cause infection, but when they do, there is no drug to treat them. They tested samples from multiple hospitals for susceptibility to heavy-duty antibiotics such as rifampicin, vancomycin and teicoplanin. Results from 96 hospitals or clinicas in 24 countries showed that these drug resistant germs have spread internationally without raising previous alarms. The investigators worry that patients whose immune systems become compromised might die from an infection with a normal skin bacteria that has become untreatable.