New bacteria discovered in human blood

10 January 2019


Two new species of bacteria have been found in the blood of patients in China.

The bacteria were found in the blood of two human patients during blood tests as part of routine medical care. The new bacteria, both of which are in the Enterobacter genus, were found to be resistant to multiple antibiotics.

Enterobacter are not usually harmful and exist as part of the healthy gut microflora. However, when these bacteria enter the bloodstream, respiratory system or the urinary tract they can cause disease.

Enterobacter infection in the blood can lead to diseases including meningitis and bacteraemia, and Enterobacter in the lungs can lead to pneumonia. Bacteraemia is the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream and can lead to serious conditions including sepsis and septic shock.

The researchers named the newly discovered species Enterobacter huaxiensis and Enterobacter chuandaensis. The bacteria were named after the region in which they were discovered and Sichuan University, where the authors are based.

The discovery of E. huaxiensis and E. chuandaensis was reported in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, along with a description of the new species and their antimicrobial resistance profiles.                                                                                                              

The resistance of these newly discovered bacteria to antibiotics is a concern, as this would make the treatment of life-threatening infections more difficult. Both new species are resistant to penicillin and cephalosporin group antibiotics. These antibiotic groups are commonly used to treat bacterial infections.

Bacterial infections such as bacteraemia are usually with frontline antibiotics and a delay in treatment could cause progression to sepsis. Sepsis has a high mortality rate and so it is vital this condition is treated quickly.


Peer reviewed                                     Experimental study                                      Cells       

Notes to Editors:

The full scientific paper can be found on the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology website here. (DOI: 10.1099/ijsem.0.003207)

Published by the Microbiology Society and owned by the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP), a committee of the Bacteriology and Applied Microbiology Division of the International Union of Microbiological SocietiesInternational Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology; is the leading forum for the publication of novel microbial taxa and the ICSP’s official journal of record for prokaryotic names.

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