Pseudomonas – a persistent germ

Final event of the lecture series, "KrankheitsErregend" (pathogenic), on 22 November

Bakterien, Pseudomonas Infektionen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Schmuckbild, WissFoto© HZI / RohdeBakterien, Pseudomonas Infektionen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Schmuckbild, WissFotoThis year's lecture series titled "KrankheitsErregend" (PathoGenic) at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig takes a close look at hospital germs. On the heels of earlier lectures on MRSA and Clostridium difficile, the final event on 22 November focuses on the bacterium, Pseudomonas. Starting at 10.30 h, two experts will present some insights into the current status in clinical settings and new research projects.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the cause of approx. ten percent of all hospital-acquired infections in Germany. The germ attacks the respiratory pathways and digestive organs of people with a weakened immune system and can also cause dangerous wound infections. As the germ is transmitted both by objects and by infected people, it can often spread very rapidly. It needs little more than some moisture for survival and stays viable even in disinfection agents. These properties make this germ one of the most serious causes of nosocomial infections.

The bacterium has a number of defence mechanisms that render it resistant to many antibiotics. Being a true artist in terms of metabolism, the germ can transform the molecular structures of antibiotic agents into ineffective components. It also forms so-called bio-films: A thick layer of mucus, in which the pathogen hides from the immune system and is protected from antibiotics.

Due to these defence strategies, medical experts are finding it very difficult to control this pathogen such that infections caused by this germ often turn chronic. The approach used by HZI scientist Prof Susanne Häußler and her "Molecular Biology" Department is directed right at these defence mechanisms to discover new pathways of therapies.

In the final event of this year's lecture series, "KrankheitsErregend" (PathoGenic), she talks about an ongoing research project and of multi-resistant Pseudomonas infections as a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. The topic of the lecture of Prof Petra Gastmeier, medical doctor working at the Charité Berlin, is the epidemiology and prevention of multi-resistant pathogens. Following the presentations, the audience has the opportunity to ask questions during a discussion session moderated by science journalist Jens Lubbadeh.

"The earlier events bridged research and medical practice very nicely. I am confident that we will succeed doing this during this event as well," says Katja Flaig, Project Manager at the HZI.

The event starts at 10:30 h at the Forum of the HZI. Admission is free.

For more information, please visit www.helmholtz-hzi.de/krankheitserregend/. If you have any related questions, please contact the Press and Public Relations Department of the HZI (Phone: +49(0)531-6181-1402, E-Mail:veranstaltungen@helmholtz-hzi.de).

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