Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stenotrophomonas maltophilia

A study by the Sanger Institute makes the papers today, including the front page of "Metro", which I don't usually read, but which did catch my eye.

This microbe ("new hospital superbug"), also known as pseudomonas maltophilia, likes wet areas like shower heads and taps, and IV drips, and can affect hospital patients who have lung diseases, cystic fibrosis, or who are on chemotherapy. It usually colonises, rather than infects, and to infect must bypass normal host defences.

Here are some links:

The story in the Guardian
British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Sanger Institute project to sequence genome of S. maltophilia
Information on

And the map of the genome referred to in the Guardian story is in this:

Crossman LC et al. The complete genome, comparative and functional analysis of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia reveals an organism heavily shielded by drug resistance determinants. Genome Biology 2008 Apr 17;9(4):R74

Not sure immediately where the figure of 1000 reports of "steno" blood poisoning a year come from: if you know, you can leave me a comment!


Anonymous said...

774 cases of Stenotrophomonas spp. bacteraemia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2006 according to the HPA website; add in Scotland (actual numbers unknown) and you get approximately 1000 in the UK. 2007 data are due out next week. These are voluntary reports, and according to the HPA you get about 65% of cases reported. So the actual number of cases in the UK is likely to be significantly more than 1000 per year, and that's just bacteraemias. According to studies by the SENTRY team across the Americas and Europe, there are about as many respiratory tract infections as bacteraemias caused by S. maltophilia. Add in the odd wound, burn and urinary tract infection, and a dash of endocarditis and you are talking nearly 3000 cases of S. maltophilia infection per year. Still only 1% of all hospital acquired infections.
And 'no' its not new and 'yes' the Metro headline is ridiculous.

Keith Nockels said...

Thank you for that: I ought to have checked HPA.

Keith Nockels said...

There's an article in Lancet Infectious Diseases about S. maltophilia, which (according to the abstract) can also colonise respiratory epithelial cells: doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(09)70083-0