Newly Discovered Oral Bacterium Could Result in Heart Disease, Meningitis



A recently identified type of bacterium could have devastating effects.

The bacterium, which inhabits the oral cavity, could result in major health problems, according to the International Journal of Systemic and Evolutionary Microbiology. The discovery will enable scientists to figure out the way it works and the risks it poses.

This type of bacterium was pinpointed by a research team at the Institute of Medical Microbiology of the University of Zurich. The bacterium, Streptococcus tigurinus, was separated from the blood of patients who had endocarditis, meningitis and spondylodiscitis. This bacterium is similar to others that inhabit the mouth.

This bacteria has been around for a while but had never been identified until recently. This step is crucial, according to study leader Dr. Andrea Zbinden, because now it can be treated properly.

This particular bacterium tends to cause major diseases. But dentists and doctors should soon be able to recommend the proper treatment orally and for overall health. Researchers next need to determine how common this bacterium is and how many people need to be treated.

More research is necessary to determine the specific risk factors for S. tigurinus.