Vampire Microbe Loves Human Blood

Friends, this is Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus, here are some victims. You probably already knew each other. After all, the bacteria—origin of the MRSA superbug—lives in the nasal cavity of one third of all humans. Now scientists know why.

They like human blood above all other kinds of animal blood. Scientists have found that the bacteria prefer human hemoglobin, which is responsible of carrying oxygen through vertebrates. These microbes attach to this protein to suck its iron and other nutrients, and it just happens that they bind perfectly and easily with our version of hemoglobin.

In fact, they seem to prefer different variants of hemoglobin among humans, which may explain why some people suffer repeated infections and others don't, according to lead researcher Dr. Eric Skaar, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, US:

A big question in staph biology is: why do some people continuously get infected or suffer very serious staph infections, while other people do not? Variations in hemoglobin could contribute.

According to the study, other bacteria also seem to prefer human blood to any other vertebrate blood, which is why I insist in exchanging mine for alcohol- and kerosene-based liquids. [Cell Host Microbe via The Press Association]