"SUPER"       Staph bug causes new (Necrotizing) pneumonia
Staph is not the only super bug that causes necrotizing pneumonia!
A vist to the hospital -- Mayo Clinic Health Advisory
MRSA flu-toxin
Aspergillus Necrotizing pneumonia
Group A Strep Necrotizing pneumonia
E. Coli Necrotizing pneumeonia

A nasty staph germ circulating in and out of hospitals produces a poison that can kill pneumonia patients
within 72 hours, researchers said on Thursday

Scientific American Jan 2007 has article following up Amy Pruden's work on antibiotic resistant genetic material (ARGs).
This is small enough to become aerosolized.

(1) Staph bug causes new pneumonia
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor....Thu Jan 18, 5:43 PM ET

A nasty staph germ circulating in and out of hospitals produces
a poison that can kill pneumonia patients within 72
hours, researchers said on Thursday.

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria -- or S. aureus -- can pass one another the gene for the toxin and are apparently
swapping it more often, the researchers report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The toxin, called
Panton Valentine leukocidin or PVL, can itself cause pneumonia and can kill healthy tissue.

Luckily, people infected with the bacteria quickly develop a high fever and astute doctors can identify it, said Gabriela
Bowden of the Texas A&M Health Science Center in Houston, who led the study.

"This is a scary situation. We are trying to put the word out and to educate people about it," Bowden said in a telephone

S. aureus is the most common cause of hospital-acquired infections, and can cause inflammation of the heart,
toxic-shock syndrome and meningitis.

A new strain called MRSA resists the antibiotic methicillin, but it can be treated with antibiotics like doxycycline and

An outbreak of methicillin-resistant S. aureus carrying the new toxin killed two patients in a British hospital in December
with a new type of pneumonia called
necrotizing pneumonia. This infection destroys lung tissue and also kills some of
the immune system cells sent to battle it.

Dr. Marina Morgan, consultant medical microbiologist at Exeter Nuffield Hospital in Britain, said the PVL toxin
"turbo-charges" an already dangerous bacteria.

"PVL is strong enough on its own to destroy the lungs," she said in a statement.

And the toxin is immune to antibiotics.

"The reason most patients die is that despite killing the bug, PVL toxins already formed continue to digest lung tissue, so
we desperately need some way of removing the toxins," Morgan said.

S. aureus, which commonly live on the skin and cause pimples, boils and other minor infections, can cause a serious
wound if the toxin-producing strains get into a cut.


Old-fashioned hygiene is the best line of defense, Bowden said.

"This is a community-associated strain, which means that in schools, the kids can carry it. Anybody can be colonized
with it," she said.

"I tell my kids if you scrape your knee, go to the bathroom immediately and wash it with soap." Hospitals must impose
strict hygiene to control it.

Bowden's team tested the PVL-producing Staph on mice and found that two days after infection, their lungs were filled
with immune cells and lung tissue was starting to bleed and die.

A stretch of DNA known as a cassette carries the code for the PVL toxin. Such a little segment is easily passed from one
strain of bacteria to another, said Bowden, and viruses called bacteriophages can also carry them.

Understanding how this happens could provide a way to develop new drugs or vaccines and shed light on how bacteria
acquire new and dangerous qualities.

"The appearance of PVL toxin in severe Staphylococcal pneumonia is a recent phenomenon. Previously the toxin was
only found in less than 5 percent of strains," said Dr. Ronald Cutler of the University of East London.

Some companies are working on staph vaccines but none is on the market.

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.