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Study: Drug-Resistant ‘Superbug’ Can Spread Among Patients Indirectly

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(credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

(credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

CBS Atlanta (con't)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) — A new study reveals that a drug-resistant “superbug” can spread among patients indirectly.

HealthDay News reports that the drug-resistant bacteria known as Mycobacterium abscessus was spread in an outbreak among 31 cystic fibrosis patients at a British treatment center between 2007 and 2011. This type of bacteria can cause lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients.

“Whole genome sequencing has revealed frequent transmission of multidrug resistant (non- tuberculous mycobacterium) between patients with cystic fibrosis despite conventional cross-infection measures,” researchers stated in the study.

Researchers believe the “superbug” spread when hair, clothing or bed linens would get contaminated and also when the Mycobacterium abscessus was released into the air during procedures.

According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control, this type of drug-resistant bacteria is found in water, soil and dust. The bacteria can cause painful skin infections, boils and puss-filled vesicles and although rare, those with impaired immune systems or underlying respiratory conditions can develop lung infections.

Researchers believe this study will have a major effect on how cystic fibrosis patients will be cared for, according to HealthDay News.

The study was published March 29 in The Lancet.

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