Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Antibiotic use in animals (may) lead to superbugs in people #mBIO

New paper in mBIO of potential interest from Lance Price et al.:  Staphylococcus aureus CC398: Host Adaptation and Emergence of Methicillin Resistance in Livestock.  For those not in the know, mBIO is a relatively new Open Access journal from the American Society for Microbiology.  The paper discusses genomic studies of MRSA which has led the authors to conclude that antibiotic use in animals may contribute to the rise and spread of superbugs in people.

From here. Maximum-parsimony tree of the 89 CC398 isolates (including ST398SO385) based on 4,238 total SNPs, including 1,102 parsimony-informative SNPs with a CI of 0.9591. Clades and groups of importance are labeled in a hierarchical fashion to facilitate description in the text. The tree was rooted with clade I based on an iterative selection process that identified this group as the most ancestral (see Materials and Methods). COO, country of origin; AT, Austria; BE, Belgium; CA, Canada; CH, Switzerland; CN, China; DE, Germany; DK, Denmark; ES, Spain; FI, Finland; FR, France; GF, French Guiana; HU, Hungary; IT, Italy; NL, The Netherlands; PE, Peru; PL, Poland; PT, Portugal; SI, Slovenia; US, United States; P, pig; H, human; R, horse; T, turkey; B, bovine; MET, methicillin susceptibility; R, resistant; S, susceptible.

The figure above is the only figure in the main text of the paper.  There are others in supplemental information which seems a bit strange to me - why put anything in supplemental information when the paper is only released online?  Or at least have thumbnail images for all figures in the main text ...

Anyway, the paper and press release got picked up by many newsy places.  See for example:
I note - the Press Release is MUCH better than the last one that was about a paper by Price that I wrote about here: The Tree of Life: #PLoSOne paper keywords revealing: (#Penis #Microbiome #Circumcision #HIV); press release misleading ...  Lance was awesomally quick to respond to my complaints about that PR.  The PR for this paper is not so bad --- a bit over the top in some of the quotes - but no need for comments I think. 

Price LB, et al. 2012. Staphylococcus aureus CC398: host adaptation and emergence of methicillin resistance in livestock. mBio 3(1):e00305-11. doi:10.1128/mBio.00305-11.

UPDATE 2/21 5:30 PM: an alternative (and much more pleasing) press release from ASM is here.


  1. Very nice and important study by Lance Price (who I remember from the time that I worked on Bacillus cereus/anthracis and is surely one of the funniest persons working in microbiology) on S. aureus ST398.
    I believe that the importance of animals as a reservoir for antibiotic resistant bacteria may (still?) be underestimated.
    I was involved in a study on enterococci which provided evidence that cats and dogs could be the source of ampicillin-resistant enterococi, which have later acquired additional genes that increase their fitness in the hospital environment and contribute to gastrointestinal tract colonization and subsequent infection of patients. Our manuscript describing these data was published in PLoS One last week and can be found here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0030319


Most recent post

My Ode to Yolo Bypass

Gave my 1st ever talk about Yolo Bypass and my 1st ever talk about Nature Photography. Here it is ...