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'Bacterial blood sucking': Study reveals deadly pathogen attracted to human blood – National

'Bacterial blood sucking': Study reveals deadly pathogen attracted to human blood – National


some of the most deadly things in the world bacteria The discovery points to a unique human thirst for blood and sheds new light on its mechanisms. bloodstream infection and possible treatments.

This phenomenon, called “bacterial blood sucking” by researchers, is detailed in one study. Published in a magazine on Tuesday e-lifediscovered that certain bacteria are attracted to the liquid component of blood, known as serum, where they recover essential nutrients.

“This chemical in the blood that we use as food is also what these pathogens recognize as food… They're attracted to human blood and that's why they're swimming towards it.” said Professor Arden Beirinck of Washington State University. Department of Veterinary Medicine and corresponding author of the study.

“This includes many bacteria that people are probably familiar with, such as E. coli and salmonella,” he told Global News.

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The bacteria the researchers investigated are called multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae pathogens. The World Health Organization has labeled “Priority pathogen”. These pathogens belong to a group of 12 bacterial families considered the most serious threats to human health due to antibiotic resistance, WHO said.

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Intestinal bacteria can also be “opportunistic pathogens that cause many types of infections, including urinary tract infections, pyelonephritis, sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis.” According to Health Canada.

Researchers found that at least three Enterobacteriaceae pathogens commonly found in the human intestinal tract, Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli, and Citrobacter coseri, were attracted to human blood.

Beylink explained that patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, are particularly vulnerable to these bacteria, which normally reside in the gut.

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“For a normal healthy person, they are not exposed to large amounts of blood in their intestinal tract. However, there are certain individuals who are at higher risk,” he said.

“There are people who have chronic bleeding in their intestinal tract. These people, including people with inflammatory bowel disease, basically have small cuts inside their intestines that are bleeding. That blood source. can be a food source for these pathogens.”

And ultimately, Beirinck said, the bacteria can be deadly if it gets into the bloodstream.

What is “bacterial blood sucking”?

While it is recognized that IBD has a high risk of infectionhe said that understanding the exact mechanisms that make it easier for these bacteria to enter the bloodstream remains a challenge.

So researchers at Washington State University wanted to dig deeper.

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To do this, the team used a high-powered microscope to simulate intestinal bleeding by injecting tiny amounts of human serum and watching the bacteria move toward the source.

“Bacteria are microorganisms, and they don't have eyes or hearing. But in fact, they have something similar to smell. The sense of smell that bacteria have is this behavior called chemotaxis. Their main function is to search for food,” Beylink said.

“So if you imagine these bacteria swimming around, they use this behavior called chemotaxis to seek nutrients.”

It turns out that our blood contains serum, a chemical that stores rich nutrients for bacteria, including sugars, amino acids, and essential metals like iron and zinc. One chemical that the bacteria seemed particularly attracted to was serine, an amino acid found in human blood and a common ingredient in protein drinks.

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When the researchers looked at the results under the microscope, Beirinck said, they were “very surprised,” noting that bacteria appeared to be consuming our blood.

“Within seconds they're clearly moving towards it, and within a minute there's an absolute swarm of them at that source. So that they're very attracted to this serum. There is no doubt about it,” he said.

This thirst for blood is why the research team called this bacterium a “bacterial blood sucker.”

The researchers stress that developing new treatments in the future is critical, as the bacteria they studied are known to harbor multidrug-resistant strains.

“To develop new treatments, we need to come up with strategies for how to stop the infection,” Beirinck said.

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“The idea is that this kind of research could lead to new treatments in the future. And it could potentially lower the risk of these bacteria entering the bloodstream.”

© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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