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The potentially deadly bacterium that’s on everyone’s skin

Forget MRSA and E. coli, there’s another bacterium that is becoming increasingly dangerous due to antibiotic resistance—and it’s present on the skin of every person on the planet.

A close relative of MRSA, Staphylococcus epidermidis, is a major cause of life-threatening infections after surgery, but it is often overlooked by clinicians and scientists because it is so abundant.

Researchers from the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath warn that the threat posed by this organism should be taken more seriously and use extra precautions for those at higher risk of infection who are due to undergo surgery.

The disease-causing genes were found to help the bacterium grow in the bloodstream, avoid the host’s immune response, make the cell surface sticky so that the organisms can form biofilms and make the bug resistant to antibiotics.

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