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Concept: Staphylococcus aureus


There has been extensive outsourcing of hospital cleaning services in the NHS in England, in part because of the potential to reduce costs. Yet some argue that this leads to lower hygiene standards and more infections, such as MRSA and, perhaps because of this, the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish health services have rejected outsourcing. This study evaluates whether contracting out cleaning services in English acute hospital Trusts (legal authorities that run one or more hospitals) is associated with risks of hospital-borne MRSA infection and lower economic costs. By linking data on MRSA incidence per 100,000 hospital bed-days with surveys of cleanliness among patient and staff in 126 English acute hospital Trusts during 2010-2014, we find that outsourcing cleaning services was associated with greater incidence of MRSA, fewer cleaning staff per hospital bed, worse patient perceptions of cleanliness and staff perceptions of availability of handwashing facilities. However, outsourcing was also associated with lower economic costs (without accounting for additional costs associated with treatment of hospital acquired infections).

Concepts: Staphylococcus aureus, Hospital, England, Scotland, Hygiene, Cleanliness, Irish language, Irish people


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease that results in significant morbidity. A hallmark of AD is disruption of the critical barrier function of upper epidermal layers, causatively linked to environmental stimuli, genetics, and infection, and a critical current target for the development of new therapeutic and prophylactic interventions. Staphylococcus aureus is an AD-associated pathogen producing virulence factors that induce skin barrier disruption in vivo and contribute to AD pathogenesis. We show, using immortalized and primary keratinocytes, that S. aureus protease SspA/V8 is the dominant secreted factor (in laboratory and AD clinical strains of S. aureus) inducing barrier integrity impairment and tight junction damage. V8-induced integrity damage was inhibited by an IL-1β-mediated mechanism, independent of effects on claudin-1. Induction of keratinocyte expression of the antimicrobial/host defense peptide human β-defensin 2 (hBD2) was found to be the mechanism underpinning this protective effect. Endogenous hBD2 expression was required and sufficient for protection against V8 protease-mediated integrity damage, and exogenous application of hBD2 was protective. This modulatory property of hBD2, unrelated to antibacterial effects, gives new significance to the defective induction of hBD2 in the barrier-defective skin lesions of AD and indicates therapeutic potential.

Concepts: Inflammation, Bacteria, Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Skin, Protease, Virulence factor, Atopic dermatitis


The emergence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that can persist in the community and replace existing hospital-adapted lineages of MRSA means that it is necessary to understand transmission dynamics in terms of hospitals and the community as one entity. We assessed the use of whole-genome sequencing to enhance detection of MRSA transmission between these settings.

Concepts: Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcaceae


We investigated the evolution and epidemiology of a novel livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain, which colonizes and infects urban-dwelling Danes even without a Danish animal reservoir. Genetic evidence suggests both poultry and human adaptation, with poultry meat implicated as a probable source.

Concepts: Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Meat, Livestock, Adaptation, Charles Darwin, Poultry


BACKGROUND: Despite advances in antimicrobial and surgical therapy, septic arthritis remains a rheumatologic emergency that can lead to rapid joint destruction and irreversible loss of function. In adults, Staphylococcus aureus is the most common microorganism isolated from native joints. Streptococcus gordonii is a prominent member of the viridans group of oral bacteria and is among the bacteria most frequently identified as being primary agent of subacute bacterial endocarditis. To the best of our knowledge, Streptococcus gordonii has not yet been described as agent of septic arthritis.Case PresentationWe describe here two cases of septic arthritis due to Streptococcus gordonii. It gives us an opportunity to review epidemiology, diagnosis criteria and management of septic arthritis. CONCLUSION: Although implication of S. gordonii as aetiologic agent of subacute endocarditis is well known, this organism is a rare cause of septic arthritis. In this case, the exclusion of associated endocarditis is warranted.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Organism, Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Microorganism, Septic arthritis


Antibiotic resistance is spreading faster than the introduction of new compounds into clinical practice, causing a public health crisis. Most antibiotics were produced by screening soil microorganisms, but this limited resource of cultivable bacteria was overmined by the 1960s. Synthetic approaches to produce antibiotics have been unable to replace this platform. Uncultured bacteria make up approximately 99% of all species in external environments, and are an untapped source of new antibiotics. We developed several methods to grow uncultured organisms by cultivation in situ or by using specific growth factors. Here we report a new antibiotic that we term teixobactin, discovered in a screen of uncultured bacteria. Teixobactin inhibits cell wall synthesis by binding to a highly conserved motif of lipid II (precursor of peptidoglycan) and lipid III (precursor of cell wall teichoic acid). We did not obtain any mutants of Staphylococcus aureus or Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to teixobactin. The properties of this compound suggest a path towards developing antibiotics that are likely to avoid development of resistance.

Concepts: Archaea, Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Cell wall, Antibiotic, Microorganism, Penicillin


Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of healthcare associated mortality, but like many important bacterial pathogens, it is a common constituent of the normal human body flora. Around a third of healthy adults are carriers. Recent evidence suggests that evolution of S. aureus during nasal carriage may be associated with progression to invasive disease. However, a more detailed understanding of within-host evolution under natural conditions is required to appreciate the evolutionary and mechanistic reasons why commensal bacteria such as S. aureus cause disease. Therefore we examined in detail the evolutionary dynamics of normal, asymptomatic carriage. Sequencing a total of 131 genomes across 13 singly colonized hosts using the Illumina platform, we investigated diversity, selection, population dynamics and transmission during the short-term evolution of S. aureus.

Concepts: Natural selection, Bacteria, Evolution, Staphylococcus aureus, Ecology, Antibiotic resistance, Staphylococcus, Symbiosis


We have identified a natural clay mixture that exhibits in vitro antibacterial activity against a broad spectrum of bacterial pathogens. We collected four samples from the same source and demonstrated through antibacterial susceptibility testing that these clay mixtures have markedly different antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Here, we used X-ray diffraction (XRD) and inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and - mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to characterize the mineralogical and chemical features of the four clay mixture samples. XRD analyses of the clay mixtures revealed minor mineralogical differences between the four samples. However, ICP analyses demonstrated that the concentrations of many elements, Fe, Co, Cu, Ni, and Zn, in particular, vary greatly across the four clay mixture leachates. Supplementation of a non-antibacterial leachate containing lower concentrations of Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, and Zn to final ion concentrations and a pH equivalent to that of the antibacterial leachate generated antibacterial activity against E. coli and MRSA, confirming the role of these ions in the antibacterial clay mixture leachates. Speciation modeling revealed increased concentrations of soluble Cu(2+) and Fe(2+) in the antibacterial leachates, compared to the non-antibacterial leachates, suggesting these ionic species specifically are modulating the antibacterial activity of the leachates. Finally, linear regression analyses comparing the log10 reduction in bacterial viability to the concentration of individual ion species revealed positive correlations with Zn(2+) and Cu(2+) and antibacterial activity, a negative correlation with Fe(3+), and no correlation with pH. Together, these analyses further indicate that the ion concentration of specific species (Fe(2+), Cu(2+), and Zn(2+)) are responsible for antibacterial activity and that killing activity is not solely attributed to pH.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Bacteria, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Chemistry, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


Background Both targeted decolonization and universal decolonization of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are candidate strategies to prevent health care-associated infections, particularly those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Methods We conducted a pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial. Hospitals were randomly assigned to one of three strategies, with all adult ICUs in a given hospital assigned to the same strategy. Group 1 implemented MRSA screening and isolation; group 2, targeted decolonization (i.e., screening, isolation, and decolonization of MRSA carriers); and group 3, universal decolonization (i.e., no screening, and decolonization of all patients). Proportional-hazards models were used to assess differences in infection reductions across the study groups, with clustering according to hospital. Results A total of 43 hospitals (including 74 ICUs and 74,256 patients during the intervention period) underwent randomization. In the intervention period versus the baseline period, modeled hazard ratios for MRSA clinical isolates were 0.92 for screening and isolation (crude rate, 3.2 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days), 0.75 for targeted decolonization (3.2 vs. 4.3 isolates per 1000 days), and 0.63 for universal decolonization (2.1 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days) (P=0.01 for test of all groups being equal). In the intervention versus baseline periods, hazard ratios for bloodstream infection with any pathogen in the three groups were 0.99 (crude rate, 4.1 vs. 4.2 infections per 1000 days), 0.78 (3.7 vs. 4.8 infections per 1000 days), and 0.56 (3.6 vs. 6.1 infections per 1000 days), respectively (P<0.001 for test of all groups being equal). Universal decolonization resulted in a significantly greater reduction in the rate of all bloodstream infections than either targeted decolonization or screening and isolation. One bloodstream infection was prevented per 54 patients who underwent decolonization. The reductions in rates of MRSA bloodstream infection were similar to those of all bloodstream infections, but the difference was not significant. Adverse events, which occurred in 7 patients, were mild and related to chlorhexidine. Conclusions In routine ICU practice, universal decolonization was more effective than targeted decolonization or screening and isolation in reducing rates of MRSA clinical isolates and bloodstream infection from any pathogen. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; REDUCE MRSA number, NCT00980980 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Penicillin


Mechanisms of protective immunity to Staphylococcus aureus infection in humans remain elusive. While the importance of cellular immunity has been shown in mice, T cell responses in humans have not been characterised. Using a murine model of recurrent S. aureus peritonitis, we demonstrated that prior exposure to S. aureus enhanced IFNγ responses upon subsequent infection, while adoptive transfer of S. aureus antigen-specific Th1 cells was protective in naïve mice. Translating these findings, we found that S. aureus antigen-specific Th1 cells were also significantly expanded during human S. aureus bloodstream infection (BSI). These Th1 cells were CD45RO+, indicative of a memory phenotype. Thus, exposure to S. aureus induces memory Th1 cells in mice and humans, identifying Th1 cells as potential S. aureus vaccine targets. Consequently, we developed a model vaccine comprising staphylococcal clumping factor A, which we demonstrate to be an effective human T cell antigen, combined with the Th1-driving adjuvant CpG. This novel Th1-inducing vaccine conferred significant protection during S. aureus infection in mice. This study notably advances our understanding of S. aureus cellular immunity, and demonstrates for the first time that a correlate of S. aureus protective immunity identified in mice may be relevant in humans.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene, Human, Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Coagulase, Staphylococcaceae