Scientists Map Genome of Bacteria Infecting U.S. Troops in Iraq

Findings may also aid in prevention of hospital-borne strains at home, researchers says

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WEDNESDAY, Feb. 28, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Yale University scientists have sequenced the genome of a bacterium called A. baumannii that's causing serious drug-resistant infections in U.S. troops in Iraq. The research may help scientists develop new ways to treat infections caused by this bacterium.

"Drug resistant bacterial infections are a rapidly growing problem in hospital settings, and now in difficult conditions of combat. We targeted A. baumannii as a growing threat for our troops in Iraq," principal investigator Michael Snyder, professor of molecular cellular and development biology, said in a prepared statement.

"Having the genome sequence of this microbe is critical for understanding how it harms humans," he said.

He and his colleagues have identified several important features in the microbe's genome that may help in the development of new treatments.

The research is published in the March 1 issue of the journal Genes and Development.

A. baumannii, which is found in soil and water and on the skin of health care workers, can cause pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis and urinary tract infections. Hospital-acquired infections caused by A. baumannii have been associated with death rates as high as 75 percent.

Recently, drug resistant A. baumannii caused an outbreak of bloodstream infections that affected more than 240 U.S. troops in Iraq.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about antibiotic resistant infections.

SOURCE: Yale University, news release, Feb. 28, 2007

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