The bacteria, called Enterococcus, is a so-called superbug, meaning it is resistant to antibiotics and cleaning products. In the new study, the researchers found that some of the same traits that give this superbug its dangerous resistance today might have helped it survive as its ancient animal hosts transitioned from water to land, some 450 million years ago, the researchers said.
Enterococcus bacteria are found normally in the human gut, but they can cause infections in the blood, urinary tract and other organs. The researchers were interested in the question of why Enterococcus appears to be so well adapted to surviving in modern hospitals and resisting many types of antibiotics. Infection with Enterococcus bacteria is one of the top causes of hospital-acquired infections, according to Medscape.
The scientists estimated that Enterococcus originated about 425 million to 500 million years ago, around the time when animals first moved from the ocean to land.
[T]he findings suggest that Enterococcus emerged from ancestors that lived in the guts of animals as they transitioned from living in water to living on land, the researchers said.
[Read full study here.]
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