Superbug Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Existed in Hedgehogs Before the Introduction of Antibiotics
- Human health significantly improved after antibiotics were discovered 80 years ago.
- Antibiotic resistance in environmental bacteria is pretty well-known; however, resistance in human pathogenic bacteria is considered to be a modern occurrence that is caused by antibiotics.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a well-known human pathogenic bacteria.
- Researchers discovered that a particular lineages of MRSA existed in European hedgehogs before antibiotics were introduced.
- Researchers also discovered that a fungus on these hedgehogs produces antibiotics that can eliminate susceptible bacteria but not MRSA.
- The results suggest that the pre-antibiotic resistance emerged as an adaptation of S. aureus to the fungus-infected hedgehogs.
- The discovery highlights One Health approach in which the health of human is closely related to the health of animals and the shared environment.
- One Health approach in very important for our understanding and managing antibiotic resistance.
Larsen, J., Raisen, C.L., Ba, X. et al. Emergence of methicillin resistance predates the clinical use of antibiotics. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04265-w