JMM Editor’s Choice: an uncommon but significant bacterial pathogen in children

Posted on June 29, 2021   by Microbiology Society

This month, Dr Stephen Michell discusses “The role of Staphylococcus lugdunensis as a pathogen in children: a multicentre retrospective study”, which was chosen as Editor’s Choice for the most recent issue of theJournal of Medical Microbiology.

In this edition of JMM, Hurvitz and colleagues report on the role of Staphylococcus lugdunensis as a pathogen in children. This article highlights that this recently characterised pathogenic Staphylococcal species confers a similar pathology in children to that observed in adults, that being predominantly skin infections. From all the isolations of Staphylococcus lugdunensis in this study, over 40% were from skin abscesses. It would be of interest to see if a similar pattern is observed in teenagers as this might be a potential cause of many adolescent skin problems. This paper highlights that perhaps many common infections are potentially caused by bacteria other than well-known classical pathogenic species. 

The role of Staphylococcus lugdunensis as a pathogen in children: a multicentre retrospective study 

Staphylococcus lugdunensis (SL) is known to be pathogenic in adults, causing mainly soft tissue infections. This retrospective multicentre study that was conducted in Israel presents the clinical characteristics consistent with SL infections and its putative role as a pathogen in the paediatric population. 

The results show that although relatively rare in children, SL is a clinically significant pathogen, causing mostly skin infections. Surprisingly, in contrast to previous studies in adults, the second most common infection was otitis media. A small percentage of the study population suffered from severe bloodstream infection with a fulminant course.  

We spoke to first author Noa Hurvitz to find out more:  

What is your institution and how long have you been there?  

Hadassah medical centre. I have worked for 3 years as a physician assistant in the paediatric emergency department, I have completed my internship year at Hadassah. I’m now a first-year resident in the internal medicine department. Overall- 5 years in this institution. 

What is your research area?   

Until now I studied mostly infections in the paediatric population. 

What inspired you to research this topic?   

During my work in the paediatric emergency department, I came across a number of SL infections. I realized this bacterial species is a rare pathogen, mostly in children, that was not studied or described sufficiently. I wanted to share this data (that was successfully obtained thanks to the great collaboration with other medical centres In Israel) with the whole scientific community. 

What is the most rewarding part of your research?  

The privilege to know other researchers over the country and to exchange knowledge, clinical practice, and research methods.   

What would you be doing if you weren't a scientist?  

I would be a psychologist, I have the curiosity to deeply understand people, guide and help them. This is also the reasons that I became a doctor and researcher.