A small smudge on an black and white photo taken in 1937 (circled right) is leading the man who discovered the Titanic on a mission to find the remains of Amelia Earhart's plane. The image was taken by British colonial officer Eric Bevington after his freighter ran aground on Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro Island, in the Pacific Ocean three months after Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan went missing on their attempt to circumnavigate the globe. On the left is Earhart's plane after it crashed in Hawaii in 1937.
The superbug Clostridium difficile (C.diff) may be evolving to spread in hospitals, research suggests. Scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine discovered the bacteria, which can cause diarrhoea, is gradually 'splitting' into two species. The new bug spreads easily, is 'immune' to disinfectants and thrives on the Western diet of sugary foods, they found.
It is thought to have emerged thousands of years ago and may be responsible for more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of the C.diff infections in hospitals today. The researchers hope understanding how C.diff adapts to 'changes in human lifestyles' will lead to better infection control.
'Our large-scale genetic analysis allowed us to discover that C. difficile is forming a new species with one group specialised to spread in hospital environments,' co-lead author Dr Nitin Kumar said.
'This emerging species has existed for thousands of years, but this is the first time anyone has studied C. difficile genomes in this way to identify it.
'This particular bacteria was primed to take advantage of modern healthcare practices and human diets, before hospitals even existed.' MORE