A new strain of Staphylococcus is to honour Cornwall in its name after a local general practitioner (GP) was instrumental in the discovery.
The strain, designated NW1T, was isolated from the skin of a 64-year-old man with cellulitis who was attended by a GP in that area. On analysis, researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School and the Royal Cornwall Hospital found that the strain was genetically unique and likely belonged to the S intermedius group (SIG).
The organism has been given the name S cornubiensis using Cornwall’s medieval name, Cornubia.
The novel species was found to be phenotypically similar to S pseudintermedius but genomically distinct from it and other SIG members. Although pathogenic, it does not carry any known virulence genes or mobilisable antibiotic resistance genes.
However, the strain was genetically similar to a canine isolate reported in an earlier study from Norway. Further research will determine if there is a link between prevalence of the strain and the presence of pets.
Lead author, Dr. Aimee Murray from the University of Exeter, said: "We now need to know how prevalent this new species is in human infections. As some related species are transferred from pets to humans, we also would like to find out whether owning pets or any other potential risk factors increase the chance of infection."
The strain NW1T has been deposited in the Public Health England (PHE) Culture Collection and the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures.