Just a quick post here pointing people to some new papers of potential interest. The papers in are mBio and are from Ian Lipkin’s lab (with others) on bacteria and viruses in mice in New York City
papers in mBio
Some news stories
- New York Mice Are Crawling With Dangerous Bacteria and Viruses in the NY Times
- CNN: New viruses, superbugs found in study of New York house mice
- NPR Rob Stein: New York City Mice Carry Bacteria That Can Make People Sick
Not sure about the headlines in these news stories – not clear exactly if they know these are dangerous or just that they appear to be potentially dangerous since they seems to be most closely related to known pathogens and/or contain various genes associated with pathogenicty or virulence. And of course, just because the mice carry certain microbes does not mean that those will get into humans.
Some brief caveats are at least mentioned in the NPR Story
Lipkin stresses that the researchers haven’t actually linked mice to any large outbreaks of human disease. So people shouldn’t overreact whenever they see a mouse in the house. But they should take steps to protect themselves.
And also come caveats in the Washington Post story
More recently, the hunt for superbugs has expanded beyond the medical pipeline. The current work is “an interesting study but not one that changes a whole lot,” said J. Scott Weese, a microbiologist at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, who was not involved with this research. “We know animals, including pets, food animals and wildlife, can carry a wide range of resistant bacteria.”
“Does a resistant bug in a mouse pose a risk to a person in the house? It’s hard to say,” Weese said. The microbiologist said that exposure to other people, pets and contaminated food were more likely to be sources of drug-resistant infections.
I too would urge people not to overreact here. But definitely something to keep an eye on.