bacteria

With antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, scientists are urgently trying to find drugs that will work against persistent infections. But coming up with new ones does not have to be the only strategy.

A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that they can repurpose bithionol — a drug formerly used to treat parasitic infections in horses — to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA, a common hospital-acquired infection.

Instead of eating a typical breakfast every day, Jonah Reeder gulps down a special protein shake.

"The nutrients in it like to sit at the bottom, so I usually have to shake it up and get all the nutrients from the protein and everything," says Reeder, 21, of Farmington, Utah, as he shakes a big plastic bottle.

Tainted, chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz., is the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 53 people in 16 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Editor's note, Jan. 17: Some identifying information has been removed from this report to guard the privacy of the family that is part of the probiotics test.

It's a typical hectic morning at Michele's house in Northern Virginia when she gets a knock on her front door.

"Hi, how are you?" she says as she greets Keisha Herbin Smith, a research assistant at Georgetown University. "Come on in."

Michele, 39, leads Herbin Smith into her kitchen.

Back in August, a study came out about bacteria in kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy.

But when we looked carefully at the study, we realized much of the news coverage about it was incorrect.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, undertook a thorough investigation into how many critters are living in used kitchen sponges. And the results were jawdropping.

WQCS

A Miami-area beach has been shut down by Florida officials after levels of bacteria from animal intestines were too high.

Wikimedia

The entire St. Lucie River is open for swimming for the first time in a year after bacteria levels have dropped to an acceptable level.

CDC

Surgical equipment used in open heart surgeries and liver transplants may have been contaminated by the manufacturer.

Everywhere you turn, it seems, there's news about the human microbiome. And, more specifically, about the bacteria that live in your gut and help keep you healthy.

Those bacteria, it turns out, are hiding a big secret: their own microbiome.

A study published Monday suggests some viruses in your gut could be beneficial. And these viruses don't just hang out in your intestines naked and homeless. They live inside the bacteria that make their home in your gut.

Google Maps

Orlando officials warned people to avoid contact with a portion of a popular lake near downtown because of high levels of fecal coliform bacteria.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the city issued an alert Tuesday, warning people to avoid contact with the western portion of Lake Ivanhoe in the College Park neighborhood.

Lake Ivanhoe's location and 122-acre size make it popular for fishing.

Fecal coliform bacteria comes from the intestines of animals and people. Some types may make people sick, and high levels may indicate that harmful pathogens are present.

The National Weather Service, as well as rain-weary residents, continue to keep a cautious eye on numerous rivers around West Central Florida.

With more thunderstorms possible the rest of the week, officials are closely monitoring the Alafia River and the Little Manatee River in Hillsborough County and Cypress Creek and the Withlacoochee River in Pasco County.

Sarasota County health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after one person died and another was sickened by a flesh-eating bacteria.

Officials said Tuesday that 11 cases were reported statewide in 2014 and 41 cases in 2013. The two Sarasota people who contracted vibrio vulnificus were middle-aged and had medically compromising conditions.

Vibrio is an infection caused by a bacteria found in warm salt water. It's in the same family of bacterium that causes cholera.

Daytona Beach News-Journal

After 26 reported cases and nine deaths in Florida this year from exposure to vibrio vulnificus, health officials advise against eating raw shellfish and exposing open wounds to seawater.

It seems almost sacrilegious to question the wisdom of Julia Child.

Naegleria fowleri, a fresh water amoeba that attacks the brain, usually kills its victims before they can get treatment.

NBC2

An 84-year-old woman is fighting for her life in Naples after a swim in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa caused her to contract an infection through a cut on her leg. Doctors had to amputate Margaret Freiwald’s leg to save her, according to NBC2 News.  

UF Health Shands Hospital has closed its burn unit and is checking for contamination throughout the hospital after eight burn patients became infected with acinetobacter baumanniii, Chief Medical Officer Timothy Flynn said Monday. One burn patient is still in isolation, he said; the hospital did not say whether there were any fatalities, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Consumer groups are stepping up pressure on animal producers and their practice of giving antibiotics to healthy animals to prevent disease. In two new reports, the groups say they're worried that the preventive use of antibiotics is contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which get harder to treat in humans and animals over time.