A closer look at the interaction of "flesh-eating" bacterial strains in a case of necrotizing fasciitis

Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a serious skin infection caused by "flesh-eating" bacteria. Interactions of multiple strains of bacteria in a mixed infection can have more devastating consequences than previously anticipated. Progression of necrotizing fasciitis caused by infection with multiple strains of Aeromonas hydrophila significantly differed when compared to infection caused by single strain alone.

A study, “Cross-Talk among Flesh-Eating Aeromonas hydrophila Strains in Mixed Infection Leading to Necrotizing Fasciitis" published today at: www.pnas.org uncovered the interaction of four strains of A. hydrophila isolated from the same patient by using our (CosmosID’s) GENIUS bioinformatics package. In a mouse model, GENIUS differentially detected individual strains using strain-specific genetic markers and demonstrated the selective dissemination of a less virulent strain to peripheral organs in the presence of other toxin producing virulent strains. The results were independently validated using luciferase and kanamycin-marked strains. The study underscores the critical need for strain level identification for better understanding of the dynamics of mixed infection.