Frank DeLeo, Ph.D., tenure-track investigator in the Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT, directed the study. "This is the first genome-scale look at GAS genes that are differentially expressed during interaction with the human innate immune system," he says. "We are excited about our findings and how they may lead to further investigation of therapeutics that can protect us from this major human pathogen." According to Dr. DeLeo, this type of study is the next logical application of microbial genomics.
An estimated 15 million new cases of noninvasive GAS infections occur in the United States each year, with a direct health care cost of $2 billion. The noninvasive and milder types of infection, primarily strep throat and skin infections, occur mostly in children between the ages of 5 and 14 years old. Elementary school-aged children are at highest risk for noninvasive disease. In 2000, the reported incidence of the more serious invasive GAS disease, which includes streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), cellulitis, pneumonia, bacteremia and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease), was 8,800 cases and 1,000 deaths. The elderly, immunosuppressed, persons with chronic cardiac or respirator
Contact: Walter Mitton
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases