• Question: What is your least favourite bacteria and which bacteria are the most deadly for humans and animals?

    Asked by sardinealpha on 25 Jun 2018.
    • Photo: Liza Selley

      Liza Selley answered on 25 Jun 2018:

      Personally, the thought of last year’s E coli infection still makes my stomach turn but I think there are far more dangerous infections out there. Bacterial Meningitis for example can kill within hours if not treated and often damages the patient’s fingers, toes or limbs so badly that they need to be amputated, causing serious disability. We need to be very careful with our use of antibiotics – if bacteria like those that cause meningitis develop resistance to our medicines, it would be very bad news.

    • Photo: Claire Donald

      Claire Donald answered on 25 Jun 2018:

      The worst bacteria in my opinion are the ones that contaminate my experiments!

      The most deadly bacteria would be something that is resistant to antibiotics. Bacteria strains can develop resistance to antibiotics when some individual bacteria in a population are unaffected by one or more antibiotics. These bacteria survive, reproduce and pass their antibiotic resistance genes on to their offspring until the whole population is resistant. This means that when people become infected with them, there are no drugs that we can use to treat them.

      Something like Clostridium difficile which causes life-threatening diarrhea, Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter which causes pneumonia or bloodstream infections among critically ill patients or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is one of the most common causes of healthcare-associated infections.

    • Photo: Lauren Burns

      Lauren Burns answered on 29 Jun 2018:

      I think that any bacteria that can resist antibiotics are pretty darn scary!