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Dangerous Bacteria Evolving in Insects

Scientists have evidence that bacteria dangerous to humanshave begun evolving in insects, for reasons that are not clear.

The October edition of Nature Reviews: Microbiology reportsthat invertebrates such as worms and insects may have begunenabling a rapid evolution for bacteria normally notharmful to humans. Not only are insects capable ofdelivering disease through bites and stings, they now may bethe breeding ground for strains of infectious bacteria neverbefore seen in humans.

A group of English physicians led by Dr. Nick Waterfield ofthe University of Bath hasalready found an unusual new bacterium causing oozing soreson its victims. They believe the new bacterium may haveevolved from one which previously only affected insects viathe nematode worm. This new strain has infectedapproximately a dozen Americans and Australians so far.

?Understanding the mechanism that the bacteria use to changetheir disease-causing ability is important if we are tosuccessfully treat emerging infectious diseases before theyget out of control and become epidemics,? says Dr.Waterfield.

?The species of bacteria may have been around for centuries,but it is just that a new strain evolves that is suddenlyable to infect humans as well as other animals,? Waterfieldsaid.

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