Infections caused by an uncommon superbug—one resistant to several kinds of antibiotics—are increasingly showing up in a Houston hospital system, according to new research published Tuesday in the journal mBio.
Researchers from the Houston Methodist Research Institute sequenced the genomes of many different strains of the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae, which caused 1,777 infections in the Houston Methodist hospital system from 2011 to 2015. K. pneumoniae is known to cause serious health problems, including pneumonia and bloodstream infections.
They found that an uncommon strain, clone type 307, was the most prevalent.
“It’s like if I told you that all around the world, 80% of cake is vanilla,” says study author Dr. S. Wesley Long, associate director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Houston Methodist Hospital. “We come to Houston and we expect to find vanilla cake, but half of the cakes are red velvet.”