The superbug, known as Klebsiella pneumoniae, is particularly prevalent in this city of 6 million people, according to scientists.
“Finding the otherwise uncommon strain in our city was a very surprising discovery,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. James Musser. He is chair of pathology and genomic medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital.
“We urgently need to identify potential vaccine targets or other new treatments, and develop new and rapid diagnostic techniques,” he said in a hospital news release.
K. pneumoniae normally lives in the human intestines where it doesn’t cause any trouble. However, in other parts of the body and outside the body, the bacteria can cause serious infections.
Hospitalized patients are at particularly high risk for serious infections caused by the germ, the study authors explained.
The bacteria can trigger harmful infections — such as pneumonia, bloodstream or urinary tract infections, and meningitis — once it moves out of the intestines and into other parts of the body.
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