Did you know bacteria can talk to each other?

The thought of superbugs scares most of us to death. Now we must think about that two may work together. And antibiotics may encourage the partnership. Researchers say we should think about bacteria as members of an antibiotic-resistant ecosystem in healthcare environments. They don’t act or respond by themselves any more.
In a study of 234 elderly patients, 40% had more than 1 multi-drug resistant organism (MDRO) living in their bodies. The study focused on 2 of the most dangerous MDROs…vancomycin resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (#MRSA) as well as 4 Gram-negative bacteria that have evolved resistance to powerful antibiotics.
One of the 4, Proteus mirabilis, causes many catheter-associated UTIs (CAUTI) and can form biofilms that involve many bacteria. This biofilm is known to release a compound called urease. The urease is the communicator. Bacteria talk though the urease. It is believed that the control of certain bacteria is the key factor reducing the talking bacteria.
The knowledge of MDRO strains and how they talk to each other and how certain antibiotics affect them, could help with many decisions in the future. Infection prevention will involve understanding what clinical practices drive the spread of MDROs in facilities. We will see much more research on partnering and talking of MDROs. More tools are needed to stop the growing ecosystem.