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Research from Australia's University of Adelaide has determined that many asthma and chronic sinusitis patients are dealing with sustained infections of bacteria - including many that are resistant to antibiotics.
The researchers tested 513 patients with asthma and persistent rhinosinusitis – a sustained blockage of the sinuses. They took tissue cultures from their noses and analyzed nasal fluids for the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms.
They found that the sinuses of a full 83% of the patients were infected with pathogenic bacteria.
The most prevalent bacteria infecting the patients was Staphylococcus aureus - an aggressive bacteria known to become resistant to many antibiotics, named methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
35% of the patients had Staphylococcus aureus infections.
The second most prevalent infection was Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This is an organism found in water, soil, on the skin of many animals and hot tubs. For this later reason, it has often been called the "hot tub bacteria." 9% of the patients were infected with Pseudomonas.
The third most prevalent infection among the patients was Haemophilus spp. One of the fastest growing strains of this bacterium is Haemophilus influenzae. Despite its name, this bacteria does not cause influenza. It is named as such because scientists in the 1930s thought it was. Haemophilus infections have been implicated not only in sinusitis and asthma, but in a host of other inflammatory conditions, including epiglottitis, ear infections (otitis media), meningitis and pneumonia. In this study, 7% of the sinusitis and asthma patients had Haemophilus infections.
While infection in sinusitis is often considered, asthma is rarely considered an infective disorder - but rather one of genetics or a condition granted at birth to an unlucky baby. Now science is revealing that many asthma patients are simply dealing with infections of organisms that are not only highly infective and aggressive, but are resistant to many antibiotics.
In fact these three bacteria - Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Haemophilus - are some of the most dangerous forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
All three bacteria are also considered major community-acquired bacteria. This means they are often acquired in public places, including hospitals, clinics, health clubs and other places where people congregate. Antibiotic-resistant infections of these three bacteria are also growing. These dangerous antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are reaching a critical mass, and conventional medicine is running out of antibiotics to treat them.
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Cleland EJ, Bassiouni A, Wormald PJ. The bacteriology of chronic rhinosinusitis and the pre-eminence of Staphylococcus aureus in revision patients. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2013 Mar 6. doi: 10.1002/alr.21159.
Hagiwara E, Baba T, Shinohara T, Nishihira R, Komatsu S, Ogura T. Antimicrobial resistance genotype trend and its association with host clinical characteristics in respiratory isolates of Haemophilus influenzae. Chemotherapy. 2012;58(5):352-7.