vancomycin-eating bacteria

Spotthedog SmithRoad at tamu.edu
Mon May 8 10:38:46 EST 2000

Gary, thanks for a great post.  I was unaware of this phenomenon.

Do you know if anything similar occurs with other antimicrobials?

I certainly can envision an organism utilizing an antimicrobial as a 
carbon source, and perhaps even as a "vitamin," but I don't know of 
other examples.   

This is most interesting and important stuff.

Again, thanks for a great post.

In article <39169D6A.88EFF9B8 at ozemail.com.au>, glum at ozemail.com.au says...
>Dilworth wrote:
>> What kind of bacteria?  VRE, or vancomycin resistant enterococci are
>> isolated in many laboratories nowadays, unfortunately.  Don't know about
>> the "eating" comment; sounds rather unmicrobiological to me.  What do
>> others in the NG say?  I am also cross-posting to sci.med.laboratory, as
>> these folks work in hospital labs routinely.
>> Judy Dilworth, M.T.(ASCP)
>> Microbiology again!
>> Frank wrote:
>> > I know someone who works at a hospital in Brownsville, Texas who says
>> > they have bacteria that are not only resistant to vancomycin, but
>> > actually eat and grow off the stuff. Is this common?
>The term you're looking for is vancomycin dependent.  They're well
>described.  Find following one reference from ProMED from a while ago.  More
>recent reports can be found in medline.
>          PRO> Vancomycin dependent enterococcus - UK (02)
>     Date:
>          Saturday, 7 December 1996
>     From:
>          "M. Wilks" <m.wilks at mds.qmw.ac.uk>
> Reply-To:
>          promed at usa.healthnet.org
>       To:
>          ProMED-mail at usa.healthnet.org
>Date: Saturday, December 7, 1996  3:14:23 MST
>From: M. Wilks <m.wilks at mds.qmw.ac.uk>
>[see 961206194240]
>The full reference to the letter in the Lancet is
>It may be necessary to access it through www.thelancet.com/
>and then register on-line.
>The letter reports an unusual, though not rare, laboratory phenomenon which,
>as the authors themselves note, has been reported before for enterococci
>(Rosato et al., 1995).  It is illustrated with a nice photograph, which is
>the opposite of the usual kind of sensitivity test, so that as the
>concentration of antibiotic increases, the bacteria grows more strongly.
>The authors note that dependence upon the antibiotic renders the mutant not
>only resistant to treatment but also undetectable unless it is specifically
>looked for, necessitating a review of current practices.  However they do
>suggest what they might be.
>It is particularly unfortunate that the authors chose to finish their paper
>with the rhetorical flourish -"Have we at last witnessed the emergence of a
>true superbug?"; thus elevating an interesting laboratory phenomenon to the
>status of yet another health panic.  This report has now attracted world
>coverage with reports of antibiotic-munching bugs.
>Rosato A, Pierre J, Billot-Klein D, Buu-Hoi, Gutmann L. Inducible and
>constitutive expression of resistance to glycopeptides and vancomycin
>dependence in-resistant _Enterococcus avium_.  Antimicrob Agents Chemother
>1995; 4: 830-33.
>Mark Wilks
>Department of  Medical Microbiology
>St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College,
>West Smithfield, London, EC1A 7BE, UK
>TEL: day ++ 44(0)171 601 8419 (office) or 8410 (lab)
>FAX: ++ 44(0)171 601 8409
>eve's ++ 44(0)181 802 5081 [Presumably, this is Dr. Wilks' night number, not
>the telephone number of a lady named "eve".  I have some problems with
>email: <m.wilks at qmw.ac.uk>
>[Dr. Wilks is correct regarding the unfortunate nature of the hyperbolic
>text.  ProMED has received reports and queries from some frightened people.
>Mod CHC]
>Send mail for any `ProMED-mail' conference to `promed at usa.healthnet.org'.
>Mail administrative requests to `majordomo at usa.healthnet.org'.
>For additional assistance, send mail to:  `owner-promed at usa.healthnet.org'.
>Dr Gary Lum, Director of Pathology, Territory Health Services
>Rocklands Drive, Tiwi NT 0810, Australia
>Tel. 61889228034, Mob. 61419814490, Fac. 61889228843
>mailto:glum at ozemail.com.au
>Helping requesting practitioners to answer their diagnostic
>questions, not just doing pathology tests.

More information about the Microbio mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net