New Species of Bacterium isolated from the Blood of Endocarditis and Meningitis Patients

streptococcus tigurinus
A new type of bacterium has been isolated from the blood of patients suffering from endocarditis, meningitis and spondylo-discitis. The researchers from the Institute of Medical Microbiology of the University of Zurich, who identified the new bacterium, have published their findings in the latest issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 
The bacterium strain is gram stain positive, catalase negative and coccus shaped. It closely resembles the streptococcus mitis strain commonly found in the oral cavity, a fact further corroborated by comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing. There is 98.6% rRNA sequence similarity with Streptococcus mitis ATCC 49456T strain. Scientists believe that the new strain of bacterium is a common inhabitant of the oral cavity. As it resembles other bacteria present in the oral cavity, it escaped identification until now.
The researchers have proposed the name Streptococcus tigurinus for the new strain, after the region of Zurich where it was first identified. According to Dr. Andrea Zbinden, the lead researcher of the study, as the bacterium has been isolated from the blood stream of patients with heart and meningeal disease, it is important to track its spread. Although the bacterium commonly resides in the oral cavity, it can easily gain access to the blood stream through bleeding gums. 
Now that Strptococcus tigurinus has been identified, it will be easy to work out how it causes diseases and the amount of risk it poses to an individual. Once this is understood, it will be easy to treat the patients earlier with specific drugs. Since the bacterium has been associated with severe disease, it is imperative for microbiologists to be aware of it. At present doctors do not know the specific risk factors which can lead to an infection by Streptococcus tigurinus. This can be an area of further research.


Friday, February 3, 2012
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