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|A study in the journal mBio, published by the American Society for Microbiology, shows how an antibiotic-susceptible staph germ passed from humans into pigs, where it became resistant to the antibiotics tetracycline and methicillin. And then the antibiotic-resistant staph learned to jump back into humans.
'It's like watching the birth of a superbug,' says Lance Price of the Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, in Flagstaff, Ariz.
The superbug at issue is a strain known as 'Pig MRSA.' It's the bug I discussed with WIRED writer and Scientific American editor Maryn McKenna recently, and the same one scientists found on retail meat in another study.
The mBio study authors found that ST398 started as a not-quite-resistant strain of staph in humans, jumped to pigs, where it acquired resistance to antibiotics, jumped back to the humans who lived near the pigs...